Delonte West

Western Notes: Durant, West, Hunt

ESPN’s Tom Penn, a former NBA executive, in an appearance on ESPN’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” said that with how well Russell Westbrook is playing, the Thunder could consider trading Kevin Durant, who is set to hit free agency in 2016. “I think this burst from Westbrook makes it much more likely that Durant ultimately gets traded next year,” Penn said. “[OKC GM] Sam Presti has proven that he does not ever want to lose anybody for nothing. So he traded James Harden a year early to avoid a potential luxury tax problem a year later. The Kevin Durant drumbeat next year is going to be so loud because he will not commit early to Oklahoma City contractually because the rules are against that. He can’t get the same contract if he signs early as if he just goes to free agency and resigns. So if Sam Presti doesn’t get that commitment, he’ll look to to trade Kevin Durant. And looking at the performance of Westbrook and the team around Westbrook will make it easier for him to do that potentially.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Delonte West is considering a deal to join the Texas Legends, the Mavs‘ D-League affiliate, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). West’s last regular season NBA action came with Dallas during the 2011/12 season. The mercurial guard’s career stats are 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
  • Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt has already shown that he should be in the running to be Denver’s coach next season, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. I’ve always viewed myself as a head coach,” Hunt said. “I’ve said before, I’ve been so thankful, I’ve been so blessed that I’ve had coaches and leaders that wanted me to lead. They’ve seen that in me. I was captain of my college team a couple of years. People have always looked at me as a leader, and I take that seriously.
  • Hunt said he has done a “handful” of head-coaching interviews in the past, but thanks to this opportunity with the Nuggets his resume will receive a nice boost, Dempsey adds. When asked if he felt any pressure to prove himself worthy of retaining Denver’s coaching job, Hunt said, “Not at all. There’s no anxiety. I go back to my faith. So it’s not like I feel any pressure as far as to win or play a certain way or do this or do that. When the time’s right, whatever God has for me, it will be. So whenever that time is, it will happen.”

And-Ones: West, Draft, Butler, Jackson

Delonte West has been released by the Shanghai Sharks after making only four appearances for the team, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. West had played for the Clippers‘ summer league squad this year but was unable to secure a training camp invite. The 31-year-old guard had hoped to play his way back into the NBA but this latest setback in his career doesn’t bode well for that possibility, Amick notes. West last played in the NBA during the 2011/12 season when he made 44 appearances for the Mavericks.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • With the college season underway we are getting our first good look at a number of prospects who are expected to fill out next year’s NBA draft lottery. Basketball Insiders’ Yannis Koutroupis has released his first mock draft of the season and it is headlined by the Sixers selecting Emmanuel Mudiay, who is currently displaying his wares for Guangdong of the Chinese Basketball Association, first overall.
  • It originally appeared that University of Kentucky would keep NBA personnel out of their practices for much of the season after the Wildcats held an unusual October combine, but the school has let NBA teams know they’re welcome again, a source tells Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (Twitter link).
  • Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders runs down the 10 biggest surprises in the NBA so far this season, which include the stellar play of the BullsJimmy Butler, the Cavs’ defensive woes, and Reggie Jackson putting up career-best numbers for the Thunder. Both Butler and Jackson are set to become restricted free agents next summer and the competition for their services should be increased if they can continue their early-season performances, notes Kennedy.
  • Robert Covington‘s four-year, $4.2MM deal with the Sixers will pay him $1MM for the first year which includes a partial guarantee of $400K, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Covington’s second year is also slated to pay him $1MM but is non-guaranteed, and the last two seasons are for the league minimum and include no guaranteed money, notes Pincus.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Deng, Knicks, Dragic, West

The Luol Deng report from the RealGM scouting service that was the source of the racially charged statements that Hawks GM Danny Ferry said aloud in a June conference call contains several tidbits of collateral information on storylines surrounding Deng the past couple of years. One of the anonymous sources quoted in the report points to hard feelings Deng had toward the Bulls as they allegedly pushed him to play through injury and played hardball with an extension offer. The same source cites “major locker room issues” that existed between two Cavaliers during Deng’s tenure there, and while the names are redacted, many accounts have pointed to tension between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The report also pointed to interest in Deng from the Hornets, Suns, Mavs and Lakers around last year’s trade deadline. Aside from the most explosive racial comments, the report contains a few mild criticisms of Deng’s ability on the court and his persona off of it, but mostly serves to paint Deng as a valuable player and an upstanding character. While the fallout from the Hawks saga continues, here’s more from other corners of the league:

  • Knicks president Phil Jackson tells Scott Cacciola of The New York Times that he and owner James Dolan didn’t speak in August and have otherwise been having only a couple conversations a month as Dolan keeps his promise not to interfere. An agent said to Cacciola that when he appealed to Dolan when Jackson wouldn’t budge in negotiations, he found the owner unwilling to provide recourse behind Jackson’s back, and Dolan insists to the Times scribe that he won’t change his ways if the team starts losing this season.
  • Zoran Dragic acknowledged that playing in the NBA appeals to him but said he’s on his way to training camp with Spain’s Unicaja Malaga, as he told Gal Zbačnik of Kosarka.si (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Dragic’s contract with the team reportedly gives him until October 5th to find an NBA deal, and several teams appear to be in pursuit.
  • Delonte West has agreed to return to China on a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks, reports Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer (on Twitter). West, who hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012/13 preseason, spent last year with China’s Fujian Sturgeons.

Pacific Notes: Calipari, Bynum, West, Suns

John Calipari was rumored to be a candidate for the Lakers’ head coaching vacancy, but Los Angeles will need to look elsewhere for a successor to Mike D’Antoni, as the University of Kentucky has announced an extension with Calipari that will keep him around through the 2020/21 season. Here’s the latest from the Pacific:

  • Andrew Bynum‘s injury woes have kept him from playing an entire 82-game season since 2006/07, and the free agent big man’s stock is not exactly at an all time high going into the offseason. Still, if he gets the chance to play in the NBA next year, Bynum would prefer to suit up for the Lakershe tells TMZ.
  • Delonte West will play for the Clippers’ summer league team, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. West, 30, hasn’t suited up for an NBA club since 2011/12,.
  • Today’s predraft workouts for the Suns included Elfrid Payton, T.J. Warren, Nick Johnson, Melvin Ejim, and Roscoe Smith, tweets Paul Coro of AZCentral. The Suns hold three first-round picks in this year’s draft.
  • Earlier today, Hoops Rumors’ Chuck Myron examined the state of the Lakers’ roster heading into the summer as part of our Offseason Outlook series.

Clippers Looking Outside NBA For Point Guard

With Chris Paul separating his shoulder Friday night against the Mavericks it appears the point guard will spend a substantial amount of time on the bench. Head coach and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers hinted that the Clippers may be looking as far as players outside the NBA to fill this hole. Rivers told Eric Patten of Clippers.com they “aren’t going to do much right now” and will just “wait and see what the report is on Chris and how Maalik Wayns is coming along.”

Wayns hasn’t played since the preseason when he tore his meniscus but was activated January 1st shortly before the Clippers played the Bobcats. Rivers told Patten that Wayns still isn’t ready to join the rotation and as we have noted, the Clippers have to make a decision on whether they even want to keep Maalik before his contract becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th.

With only Darren Collison guaranteed to play at point guard for the next few weeks, Doc Rivers told Patten they are looking at a few guys that could get out of their contracts in China. Rivers did also hint that they may not sign a point guard and may look for a shooting guard that could handle the ball.

According to ESPN’s Arash Markazi, two point guards currently playing in China that could be options for LA are Delonte West and Bobby Brown. (Twitter Link) West last played in the NBA for the Mavericks in 2011/12 and Brown last saw regular season NBA action with the Clippers back in 2009/10. West seems to have the advantage to get Clipper consideration over Brown as he played for Rivers two separate times in Boston.

The Clippers are at the 15-man maximum roster limit so any signing will subsequently require a player to be waived. The two players most likely to be waived would be those playing with non-guaranteed contracts, previously mentioned Wayns and 13 year veteran Stephen Jackson.

Delonte West Signs With Chinese Team

Delonte West has signed a one-year deal with Fujian of China, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (on Twitter).  The guard last played in the NBA in 2011/12 when he was with the Mavs.

The 30-year-old averaged 9.6 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.3 SPG in a shade over 24 minutes a night in that last go-round with Dallas.  West would obviously like to make his way back to the NBA this season and the shortened season in the CBA will allow him to sign a mid-season deal here in the states – provided that a team wants him.

Talent doesn't appear to be the issue with West but behavior certainly is.  After being cut by the Mavericks for his off-court activity in training camp last fall, West lasted just eight games with the D-League's Texas Legends for being late to practice.  The Knicks and Grizzlies had some level of interest in West earlier this summer, but things never seemed to develop.  West even made it known that he'd take a non-guaranteed deal and still didn't get an NBA opportunity.

In eight seasons with the Celtics, Sonics, Cavs, and Mavericks, West averaged 9.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, and 1.1 SPG.  As always, you can keep track of deals all around the globe with Hoops Rumors' International Player Movement Tracker.

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Free Agent Stock Watch: Delonte West

NBA teams sometimes deem a player untouchable after off-the-court issues make them a risk for any guaranteed contract. Even serious injury problems won't scare teams as much as when players are considered locker-room problems; the Cavs signed Andrew Bynum to a deal where only $6MM of his $12MM contract this year is guaranteed, with a team option for $12.5MM in 2014/15. 

But the trend away from troubled players is never more evident than with former Celtics and Cavaliers guard Delonte West. West hasn't appeard on an NBA court since the 2011/12 season when he averaged 9.6 PPG, 3.2 APG and 1.3 SPG in a shade over 24 minutes a night for the Mavs. The 6'4" guard out of St. Joseph's University shot over 46 percent from the field and better than 35 percent from beyond the arc in his last season with a hungover championship team in Dallas.

But West's troubled behavior during his time in training camp last fall led the Mavs to cut him. West signed with the Development League's Texas Legends, but was tardy in reporting and only played in eight games for the team while averaging 10.4 points and 4.4 assists. 

West turned 30 years old in July and after the Knicks and Grizzlies expressed interest earlier in the summer, the Knicks' interest waned. Despite the advocacy of Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, nary a whiff has been rumored about West even after he said he was open to a non-guaranteed deal.

The lack of interest is a little peculair considering the positive reactions to his play at Tim Grgurich's camp in Las Vegas in mid-August. But West's mental health struggles — he suffers from bipolar disorder — and his run-ins with the law over the years have scared teams off. 

It's worth noting that Delonte's play on the court has never been the problem. He's shot slightly above league average from 3-point range over his eight-year career (37.2%), and he's averaged over 30 minutes a night for multiple playoff teams and title contenders, like the late 2000s Cavs. He plays hard defense and is an unselfish player who can be a contributor off the bench or as an interim starter.

Plenty of teams need help in the backcourt, but there are a lot of available guards still left on the market, including Richard Hamilton, whose free agent stock Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors assessed last week. But while most of the guards available may fall short of the experience and numbers West can bring to the table, the lack of interest from teams this summer leads one to believe teams are wary of West's issues off a basketball court.

Since the rumored interest by the Knicks, they've re-signed Pablo Prigioni and signed Beno Udrih to backup Raymond Felton. The Grizzlies were West's other potential suitor earlier in the summer, but they've already signed Nick Calathes to a two-year deal worth less than $2MM. While Calathes is talented, the Grizzlies still might want to bring West in to take a closer look during training camp.

Unfortunately, after so many issues completely unrelated to basketball still surrounding West, the talented guard is hovering in absentia after already missing the entirety of the 2012/13 season. If a team does take a chance on him and invites him to training camp, it'll likely they're trying to get a feel for how he meshes with the rigors of NBA life again.

A contender with a strong front office and an experienced coach is the sort of team that seems likely to take a chance on West sometime during the season if he doesn't catch on before training camp. But West's repeated chances to stay in the NBA are slowly dwindling. 

Odds & Ends: Joseph, West, Delany, Wiggins

Here are a few odds and ends from around the NBA on Wednesday night:

  • Kris Joseph, who was waived last month by the Celtics, is weighing international offers in Italy, Russia and France as well as a few NBA invites, tweets Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest. 
  • Haynes also tweets that free agent guard Delonte West has impressed at a coach's camp in Las Vegas.  West, who spent some time in the D-League last year, hasn't played in the NBA since his 2011/12 campaign with the Mavericks.  West has also played with the Celtics and Cavs. 
  • The Heat have named advance scout Pat Delany the head coach of their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. 
  • Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM evaluates the prospects of the eight 2010 first-round picks that are currently not on NBA rosters – Cole Aldrich, Xavier Henry, Luke Babbitt, Craig Brackins, Elliot Williams, Damion James, Dominique Jones and Lazar Hayward.
  • Andrew Wiggins has the potential to single-handedly turn around an NBA franchise, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld, adding that his ceiling has teams lining up to better their chances for his services. Kennedy names the Sixers, Magic, Suns, Bobcats, Kings and Jazz as the six teams who have positioned themselves for Wiggins, and Celtics and Raptors as outside possibilities. 

Odds & Ends: Sixers, West, Gordon, Jamison

Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool appears to have become the leading candidate in the Sixers head coaching search, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Most reports have cited Brett Brown and Michael Curry as the front-runners, but it seems there are still several hopefuls who could emerge with the job. We passed along news from Washburn earlier today on the continuing possibility of a Rajon Rondo trade to the Pistons, and here's more from the Globe scribe as we round up the morning's news from around the NBA:

  • The Knicks and Grizzlies have reportedly been in talks with Delonte West, but the Knicks appear to be out, and according to Washburn, no team has shown serious interest.
  • The additions of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans make for a crowded backcourt in New Orleans, but Eric Gordon is glad to have his new Pelicans teammates, he tells Washburn.
  • Clippers boss Doc Rivers didn't make an offer to Antawn Jamison when they met for dinner last night, but the Clippers and Jamison's reps plan to talk soon, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • The Hawks waived DeShawn Stevenson on Friday, and in the likely event that he clears waivers and hits free agency, he'd like to sign with the Heat, according to a pair ofdispatches from his Twitter account.
  • Shelvin Mack appears in a tenuous position with the Hawks, since his contract is non-guaranteed and he plays the same position as Jeff Teague and first-round pick Dennis Schröder. If the Hawks waive Mack, he'll be the primary point guard target for Olimpia Milano of Italy, Enea Trapani of Sportando reports.
  • Elston Turner has reached an agreement to become an assistant coach for the Grizzlies, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. The defensively minded Turner also spoke about joining the Timberwolves staff.
  • Stefhon Hannah has signed to play with Juve Caserta in Italy, the team announced (translation via Sportando's Emiliano Carchia). Hannah worked out for the Knicks this summer, and spent two weeks last fall in training camp with the Warriors.

Zwerling On Knicks, Ivan Johnson, Humphries

Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com has tweeted a string of updates on the Knicks today, as we've noted in a pair of posts. Marc Berman of the New York Post delivered plenty more on the Knicks earlier today, and this evening Zwerling delivers a full story on the latest from New York. We'll hit the highlights from Zwerling's piece here:

  • The Knicks and Ivan Johnson are discussing a potential deal. The former Hawks power forward had been holding out for a team to commit its mini mid-level exception to him, but his interest in the Knicks, who can only offer the minimum, indicates that his price may have come down.
  • The Knicks' interest in Kris Humphries is mutual, but the Celtics are still unlikely to buy him out.
  • Other big men the Knicks are considering include Cole Aldrich, Hamed Haddadi, Jerome Jordan, Gani Lawal, Shavlik Randolph and Henry Sims.
  • The Knicks remain interested in Beno Udrih and Bobby Brown, but Zwerling confirms Berman's report that the team is no longer looking at Delonte West.
  • Berman wrote that the Knicks are expected to invite Toure Murry to training camp, and Zwerling hears that the team will do the same with "a few young developmental point guards."