DeMarre Carroll

Rockets Notes: Harden, Tucker, Van Gundy, Bench

James Harden believes he’s taken for granted around the basketball world, as he told Rachel Nichols of ESPN (Twitter link). “I feel like I’m the best player,” said the former Most Valuable Player, who once again leads the league in scoring. “Throughout the course of the year, I don’t see double teams for anybody else. Usually, you’ll see a double team after a 50-point night or a 60-point night. I have an 18-point night, the next game I’m seeing a double-team.”

Harden also took a dig at Giannis Antetokounmpo, who joked while choosing his All-Star squad that he didn’t want Harden because he preferred someone who passed the ball. “I wish I could just go to the rim at 7-feet and just dunk,” Harden said. “That takes no skill at all.”

We have more on the Rockets:

  • P.J. Tucker has accepted his new role as the team’s middle man in its Microball lineup, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. Tucker says it’s just part of the job description of a team player. “It’s not a choice,” he said. “It’s like when people ask me why I play so hard. Like, it’s not a choice to play hard. I don’t have a choice. That’s what you’ve got to do. Period.”
  • Broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy doled out praise to coach Mike D’Antoni and GM Daryl Morey for their willingness to take criticism by embracing unconventional lineups, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays. “I admire their basketball courage,” Van Gundy said. “They have true conviction. They don’t waffle. They believe in what they believe. And they are unafraid of the consequences or the criticism. That’s when you can coach freely and manage freely.”
  • The recent additions of Jeff Green and DeMarre Carroll have made the team’s bench much more formidable, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes. Forward Danuel House is noticing the difference. “It makes your team a very dangerous team,” House said. “Especially with your starting five. If your starting five is capable of putting up points and your bench is capable of putting up points, the team can stay consistent. There are no highs or lows, so that’s really good for our team.”

Texas Notes: J. Green, Carroll, Cousins, Doncic

Jeff Green looked right at home in his debut with the Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. In his first game since being waived by the Jazz on December 24, Green scored 17 points in 24 minutes as Houston won big Thursday night at Golden State.

“I just came ready to play,” he said. “I mean, I’m in shape, so I just tried to do whatever I needed to do to help the team win. I have a beautiful wife who allowed me to do what I needed to do and that’s all I need to say about that. I have great trainers at home and when I was home for this time, my wife allowed to me to really focus on what I needed to do.”

The Rockets are Green’s ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2007, making him one of seven active players to be with that many organizations, Feigen adds. Ish Smith is the active leader with 11 teams.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • DeMarre Carroll, another new Rocket, had a disappointing stay with the Spurs, but his presence on the team will be missed, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News (Twitter link). “I’ve known DeMarre since college, we came in together, played with him in Toronto,” DeMar DeRozan said. “Just a great guy. It’s part of the league. Everyone comes and goes, but friendships and memories last forever.”  Carroll appeared in just 15 games after signing with the Spurs last summer.
  • The Mavericks might have been willing to gamble on DeMarcus Cousins, but they don’t want to part with anyone on their current roster, owner Mark Cuban tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The veteran center has missed the entire season with a torn ACL in his left knee, but recently offered hope that he might be ready for the playoffs. The Lakers plan to waive Cousins and add Markieff Morris once he clears waivers tomorrow. “We don’t have any roster spots,” Cuban said. “If we had a roster spot, we would probably do something, but we don’t. And there’s nobody we want to release.”
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic sat out tonight’s game with a sore ankle, but coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue, Townsend tweets.

Rockets Sign DeMarre Carroll

The Rockets have officially signed DeMarre Carroll, according to a team press release. It was reported earlier in the week that he would join Houston.

The Spurs agreed to a buyout with Carroll after not moving him at the trade deadline, waving the white flag on one of the worst offseason acquisitions in the league. It wasn’t necessarily Carroll’s play that was the issue; it was what the Spurs were forced to give up for the wing.

San Antonio had initially agreed to sign Carroll and planned to use their mid-level exception, but when Marcus Morris agreed to a deal with the team, the Spurs pivoted to acquiring Carroll via trade instead (and giving up Davis Bertans to the Wizards). Morris backed out of the agreement, which made giving up Bertans for Carroll an unnecessary move.

Carroll will join the Rockets as they embark on a unique, strange journey of playing no traditional big men most of the time. The 33-year-old will likely spend time at both forward spots with the club, though it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he sees minutes at the five in some funky lineups.

Carroll’s rest-of-season contract with Houston will pay him $811,447, which is the exact amount he gave up in his buyout agreement with the Spurs, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter). The Rockets, who now have a full 15-man roster, will carry a cap hit of $512,721.

Spurs Officially Waive DeMarre Carroll

The Spurs have officially waived DeMarre Carroll, the team announced today in a press release. The move opens up a spot on the team’s 15-man roster.

As we outlined on Monday, Carroll’s agent Mark Bartelstein successfully negotiated a buyout with the Spurs, despite the fact that the veteran forward still had two years on his contract beyond 2019/20, including a fully guaranteed salary for next season. The exact terms of that buyout haven’t yet been reported.

Carroll intends to sign with the Rockets once he becomes a free agent. Now that his release from San Antonio is official, the 33-year-old is on track to clear waivers on Thursday afternoon, so he could theoretically be in uniform for Houston by the time the club faces Golden State on Thursday evening.

Coming off a couple solid seasons in Brooklyn, Carroll signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Spurs during the 2019 offseason. However, he barely played at all in San Antonio and wasn’t effective in the limited minutes he did see. In 15 games (9.0 MPG), he averaged 2.2 PPG and 2.1 RPG with a .310/.231/.600 shooting line.

It’s not clear yet what the Spurs plan to do with their newly-opened roster spot. The team isn’t required to carry a 15th man, but figures to fill that opening at some point before the end of the regular season.

DeMarre Carroll Reaches Buyout, Looks To Join Rockets

Forward DeMarre Carroll has reached a buyout with the Spurs, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. He intends to sign with the Rockets once he clears waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The news is not surprising, considering that Carroll had racked up 15 straight DNP-CDs and publicly expressed frustration with his lack of playing time. However, it’s still unusual for a team to agree to buy out a player with multiple years left on his contract.

Carroll agreed to a three-year, $21MM contract with the Spurs in a sign-and-trade from Brooklyn last summer.

Carroll is owed $2.3MM for the remainder of the season, $6.65MM next season and $1.35MM in guaranteed money for 2021/22, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Even with the buyout, San Antonio will incur a cap hit through the life of the contract.

The 33-year-old did not join the Spurs when they began their eight-game rodeo trip on February 2, as the club looked into moving him by the February 6 trade deadline.

Carroll holds career averages of 9.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG, while shooting 35.9% from deep. With the Spurs, he averaged just 9.0 MPG and appeared in only 15 games. Carroll appeared in 67 games with the Nets last season and averaged 11.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 25.4 MPG.

Carroll’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, negotiated the buyout.

Carroll could play both forward positions in Houston’s small ball lineup. The Rockets have two open roster spots and need to add at least one player, so Carroll could fulfill that obligation.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DeMarre Carroll, Frustrated In San Antonio, Hopeful For New Opportunity

Spurs forward DeMarre Carroll is making no secret of his frustration with his role in San Antonio, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Carroll has 15 straight DNP-CDs and counting,

Carroll agreed to a three-year, $21MM contract with the club in a sign-and-trade from Brooklyn this summer. The Spurs are only on the hook for $1.35MM in the final season of his deal (2021/22).

The 33-year-old was not with the Spurs when they started their eight-game rodeo trip on February 2, as the club looked into moving him by the February 6 trade deadline, per Orsborn. Before things had reached this point, Carroll was already vocal about his reduced role.

Carroll, known as a prototypical three-and-D forward who can play either position, holds career averages of 9.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG, while shooting 35.9% from deep on 3.2 attempts a night. Those numbers have cratered this season with the Spurs, where he is averaging just nine minutes a night and has appeared in only 15 games.

“I felt like San Antonio was going to be a great place for me, for my talents,” Carroll said of his frustrating tenure with the Spurs this season. “But it didn’t work out.”

Due to the length of Carroll’s current contract, a buyout that satisfies both sides may be difficult to achieve — an offseason trade may be more realistic. Carroll was noncommittal when asked about the possibility of his buyout, suggesting his agent Mark Bartelstein is at least exploring the idea.

“He is handling that,” Carroll said. “[He] and [Spurs general manager] Brian (Wright) and all of them. I don’t know what direction we are going to go. But at the end of the day, at 33, I don’t want to waste my talents just sitting at the end of the bench, knowing I could help a team produce.”

Jazz Rumors: Trade Market, Davis, Carroll, Conley

The Jazz probably won’t do anything too drastic at this week’s trade deadline, but they’d like to “upgrade around the margins” if possible, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Athletic. Having already dealt Dante Exum and a pair of second-round picks for Jordan Clarkson, Utah no longer has as many expendable assets that could be included in a trade, but would “jump” at any opportunity to improve its roster, says Jones.

One player who could be on the block is Ed Davis. As Jones points out, things haven’t worked out for Davis in Utah so far — he’s averaged a career-worst 1.3 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 25 games (10.7 MPG). The veteran center would like to play more and the Jazz are open to moving him, according to Jones. However, if they can’t find a trade they like, the two sides figure to move forward together, since a buyout isn’t a realistic option due to the big man’s guaranteed $5MM+ salary for 2020/21.

Here’s more from Jones on the Jazz:

  • Utah’s front office has at least “superficially” discussed the idea of targeting veteran forward DeMarre Carroll, who is on the trade block in San Antonio. Jones notes that there’s uncertainty about how much Carroll has left in the tank, given his down year with the Spurs.
  • Sources tell The Athletic that the Jazz don’t want to move any “core” players. That group includes Mike Conley, who is unlikely to be discussed at all in trade talks this week, according to Jones.
  • If the Jazz don’t end up doing anything by the trade deadline, they’d like to be active on the buyout market, Jones writes.

Spurs Rumors: Gay, Carroll, Belinelli, Bertans

The Spurs are “looking at everything” and weighing a variety of potential paths at the trade deadline, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on a Sunday podcast with Bobby Marks. At 22-26, San Antonio is 1.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Grizzlies and is at risk of missing the postseason for the first time since the turn of the century. The club will have to decide whether to push to continue that streak, take a step back and retool, or simply stand pat.

Having spoken with executives around the NBA, Jabari Young of CNBC Sports says there’s a belief the Spurs want to push for the playoffs. “They are 100% obsessed with getting that eighth seed,” one executive told Young.

If that’s the case, it wouldn’t make sense for San Antonio to trade DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge. However, moving Rudy Gay is a scenario that rival executives consider more realistic, Young suggests.

“If they get a nice asset back, I think they would do something with Rudy Gay, but I think their asking price is too high,” an exec told Young.

Here’s more on the Spurs:

  • In his conversation with Marks, Wojnarowski speculated that the Spurs may view the idea of trading veterans like DeRozan, Aldridge, and Gay as an “all-or-nothing” proposition. In other words, in the unlikely event that the team could move all three players and get good value back, it could be worth rebooting the roster. Otherwise, it might not make sense to move just one or two of them.
  • The Spurs are working with agent Mark Bartelstein in an effort to find a new home for little-used veteran forward DeMarre Carroll, according to Jabari Young. After signing a three-year deal with San Antonio last summer, Carroll has appeared in just 15 total games this season, including two since Christmas. He has admitted that his reduced role has been “difficult.”
  • According to Young, the Spurs are also shopping Marco Belinelli, a 37.5% career three-point shooter who is on a $5.85MM expiring contract. No serious suitors have emerged for Belinelli, who is considered a liability on defense, Young adds.
  • If Davis Bertans hadn’t been traded last summer, he would’ve seriously considered re-signing with the Spurs in the summer of 2020, a league source tells Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report. That ship has probably sailed now though, according to Scotto, who revisits the saga that saw Marcus Morris renege on a free agent agreement with San Antonio. Morris didn’t tell the franchise directly that he was backing out of his commitment and the Spurs learned of his intentions after he failed to show up for his physical, says Scotto.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Southwest Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

If the Rockets and Mavericks make moves before the trade deadline, they’ll likely be looking to shore up their rosters in order to make a push to secure a top-four seed in the West. However, in today’s look at Southwest trade candidates, we’re focusing on the division’s other three teams, whose approaches to the deadline remain unclear. Let’s dive in…

DeMarre Carroll, F
San Antonio Spurs
$7MM cap hit; $6.7MM guaranteed salary in 2020/21; $7MM non-guaranteed salary in 2021/22

Nearly a month ago, Carroll acknowledged that he wasn’t playing as much this season as he expected to when he joined the Spurs last summer, and admitted that accepting his reduced role had been “difficult.” Since then, the veteran forward has appeared in four games, logging fewer than 15 total minutes.

There’s been no indication that Carroll has asked the Spurs to trade him, but given his lack of playing time and the team’s up-and-down play this season, it seems safe to assume he wouldn’t object to a change of scenery.

Carroll’s value has probably taken a hit due to his absence from San Antonio’s lineup and his small-sample struggles. The Spurs also aren’t historically very active on the trade market during the season — their last in-season trade was completed in 2014, and that Nando De Colo/Austin Daye swap wasn’t exactly a blockbuster.

With those factors working against a deal, Carroll will probably end up staying put through the deadline. But if San Antonio does make a move, a smaller-scale trade involving a player like Carroll seems more likely than a franchise-changing shake-up involving someone like DeMar DeRozan or LaMarcus Aldridge.

Jae Crowder, F
Memphis Grizzlies
$7.8MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Crowder looked like a more logical trade candidate back on December 7, when the Grizzlies were 6-16 and seemed safely lottery-bound. For teams who perhaps couldn’t afford Andre Iguodala‘s $17MM salary but were seeking a playoff-tested three-and-D wing, Crowder and his expiring contract made all the sense in the world as a potential target.

Since then though, Memphis has won 13 of 19 games, jumping all the way up to No. 8 in the Western Conference, and Crowder has had a major hand in that resurgence, as no Grizzlies player has played more minutes so far this season.

Crowder’s play has earned him “renewed attention” from possible suitors, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. However, Hollinger doesn’t think the Grizzlies will receive an offer so strong that they’ll feel compelled to move him — especially since re-signing the forward at season’s end isn’t entirely out of the question. At age 29, Crowder isn’t necessarily too old to play alongside the franchise’s young core for a few more years.

Derrick Favors, F/C
New Orleans Pelicans
$17.7MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

Like Crowder, Favors is a veteran on an expiring contract who would fit right in on a contender and has been monitored by teams this season. But a handful of factors – including a recent hot streak, a close race for the West’s No. 8 seed, and Zion Williamson‘s impending return – all point toward the Pelicans deciding not to become sellers this winter.

After all, the Pelicans’ 9-3 stretch – following a 7-23 start – has pulled them within 3.5 games of the Grizzlies for that eighth spot in the conference, and selling off veterans now would dampen fans’ rising enthusiasm for the team.

Assuming the Pelicans plan to push for a spot in the postseason, Favors is the team’s most reliable option at the five, as he showed with his 21-point, 11-rebound performance in Thursday’s win over Utah. That’s not to say a trade is out of the question, as Favors is probably more likely to be moved than Jrue Holiday or J.J. Redick. But I get the sense that David Griffin would like to see what this squad can do when it’s fully healthy and may wait until the offseason to make any serious changes.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DeMarre Carroll: Reduced Role Has Been “Difficult”

After signing a three-year contract worth nearly $21MM with the Spurs this past offseason, DeMarre Carroll expected to play a regular role for the team, but that hasn’t been the case so far.

Carroll, who averaged 27.7 MPG in 140 games for Brooklyn over the past two seasons, has played just 10.9 minutes per contest in 2019/20 and hasn’t appeared at all in more than half of the Spurs’ games. As Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News writes, the veteran forward has been caught off guard by the string of DNP-CDs.

“I did not have this in mind,” Carroll said. “Every time I play a different team, they always ask what it’s like to play here. I literally have no clue. I have no answer. All I can do is just stay ready.

“… It’s very difficult, this right here,” Carroll added. “Establishing myself as a player in this league, then re-establishing myself. It’s definitely been difficult. It’s just been another bump in the road. I have to keep fighting.”

Carroll, who hasn’t seen any action since December 3, was one of the Spurs’ top targets in the summer — word of an agreement between the two sides broke within 90 minutes of the start of free agency. And while San Antonio’s agreement with Marcus Morris is frequently cited as the reason why the team had to trade Davis Bertans, the Spurs essentially chose Carroll over Bertans too — the three-way deal that sent Bertans to Washington brought Carroll to San Antonio via sign-and-trade.

Given how much the Spurs seemed to value Carroll, it’s surprising he hasn’t been used more, but players like Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli and Lonnie Walker remain ahead of him in the rotation. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich praised Carroll for how he has handled the situation, as McDonald relays.

“He’s good people,” Popovich said. “At this point, it’s a new program for him and he’s got a couple guys ahead of him at that position. It’s been tough for him to get minutes, but he’s been professional about it and done everything I could ask.”

Despite being disappointed by not having a regular role for the Spurs, Carroll is trying to stay positive rather than griping about his minutes or requesting a trade.

“You don’t know when your opportunity will come,” Carroll said. “Maybe somebody will get hurt, you get traded, it doesn’t matter. You’ve got to be ready. … You try not to have no hard feelings, because it’s going to come back to you. Pop’s the coach; he does what he wants to do. I just got to get ready to play when he asks me to.”