Deron Williams

Central Notes: Korver, Williams, Workouts

There’s a better chance that the Cavaliers bring mid-season trade acquisition Kyle Korver back for 2017/18 than buyout season bargain Deron Williams, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. In response to a reader’s question, Vardon broke down the circumstances of their respective pending free agencies.

Because they gave up a first-round pick to acquire him, the Cavaliers hold Korver’s Bird Rights. That means, of course, that they can go above the salary cap to retain him, something outright inevitable given that they’re operating with the league’s highest payroll. Bringing Korver – who led the league in 3-point percentage at age 36 – back is a cost effective way of keeping offensive weapons on board for next season.

Williams, in contrast, will be limited in the size of contract he can land with the Cavaliers, a figure certainly less than what he drew on the open market with the Mavs last offseason. Despite his having been waived by Dallas in February, his eventual playoff struggles with Cleveland and the staggering fact that he’ll make $5.5MM for the next three years thanks to a stretch provision dating back to his time with the Nets, Vardon says he’s “unlikely” to sign with the Cavaliers for just their $5.1 exception.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks worked out a handful of guards Friday, including Donovan Mitchell (projected to be drafted at No. 14 by NBADraft.net) and Justin Jackson (No. 19). A report on Milwaukee’s official website has the details.
  • The Pistons spent time Friday working out a number of deep sleepers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets. The scribe notes facetiously that the names aren’t likely candidates to go 12th overall. With no second-round pick, Detroit could be auditioning eventual free agent options.
  • The Pacers will bring John Collins (projected to be drafted at No. 13 by NBADraft.net) and Harry Giles (No. 22) in for a workout Saturday, the team writes on its official site, as well as several others.
  • A combination of age and limited financial flexibility could make it difficult for the Cavaliers to improve this offseason, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Marks notes that even if the club looked elsewhere than Kyle Korver and Deron Williams, they’d only have minimum contracts and the mid-level exception at their disposal.

Finals Notes: West, Pachulia, Williams, Coaches

The Warriors would like to extend the contract of executive board member Jerry West, relays Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News. Golden State owner Joe Lacob said there have been contract talks with the Hall of Famer, whose current deal runs out in July. Nothing has been finalized, and negotiations are on hold until the playoffs are complete. “We have met; we have discussed the future,” Lacob said. “And it’s really something that I’m sure at the end of the season we will return to and figure out what Jerry wants to do. We want him back. We love him. He’s been a great contributor to the organization, someone I consider a personal friend as well.” West indicated several months ago that he might be interested in rejoining the Lakers in an advisory role, but the team’s recent front office shakeup may have eliminated that as an option.

There’s more tonight as we count down to the start of the Finals:

  • Warriors center Zaza Pachulia has fully recovered from the heel problem that kept him out of Games 3 and 4 of the conference finals, relays Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News. Pachulia has been medically cleared and was a full participant in Golden State’s last three practices.
  • The Cavaliers’ bench had a productive game in the clincher of the Eastern Conference finals, which offers hope for the series against Golden State, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Deron Williams, who signed with Cleveland in late February after being waived by Dallas, is excited about reaching the NBA Finals for the first time. “Twelve years in the league,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t know if it’s ever going to happen and don’t know if it’s going to happen again so for me I just want to make the most of this opportunity, enjoy it, soak it in and try to win a ring.” 
  • Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown claims Cavs coach Tyronn Lue still owes him $100 from a bet they made in 1998, Fedor notes in a separate piece. Lue claims he has tried several times to pay off the wager, which was related to a shooting contest, but Brown won’t take the money. The stakes will be much higher starting Thursday when they oppose each other for an NBA title.

Poll: Best Unrestricted Free Agent Point Guard

Among unrestricted free agents this offseason, point guard is easily the deepest position. Stephen Curry, Kyle Lowry, George Hill, Jeff Teague, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick Rose headline this group. Deron Williams, Darren Collison, and Patty Mills are also unrestricted free agents. In all, there are 28 unrestricted free agent point guards this offseason.

Two-time MVP Curry has scarcely been mentioned as an unrestricted free agent because most take for granted that he will return to the Warriors to dominate the NBA with the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for years to come.

Probably the second best player in this group, Lowry, will be coming off a breakout season, but he is 31 years old, has a long history of playoff struggles, and the Raptors would need to offer him a 5-year max contract. Still, Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combine for one of the most lethal backcourts in the league, and it is difficult to imagine Toronto not laying out the red carpet for its star point guard’s return.

After seven seasons with the Hawks, Teague played in all 82 games for the Pacers, averaging 15.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG.

Although limited to 49 games due to injury in his first campaign with the Jazz, Hill averaged a career-high 16.9 PPG to go with an impressive slash line of .477/.403/.801.

Holiday shot a career-high 45.4% from the floor for the Pelicans, posting 15.4 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 1.5 SPG.

Rose, a former MVP, averaged 18.0 PPG and 4.4 APG, while shooting a stellar 47.1% in 64 games in his first season with the Knicks.

Without further ado, here’s today’s poll question: Beyond Curry and Lowry, who among this group would be most helpful for a team to sign and suit up as their starting point guard next season? Don’t limit yourself to a click of a button. Do you believe someone in the group is better than each of the available options? Are we underrating someone’s potential? Let us know in the comment section below. We look forward to your insight!

 

Cavaliers Notes: James, Korver, Williams, Love

While returning to the NBA Finals is a thrill for LeBron James, the Cavaliers superstar is thrilled Kyle Korver and Deron Williams will get to experience the big stage for the first time, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes.

The Cavaliers wrapped up the Eastern Conference Finals with a 135-102 blowout win over the Celtics on Thursday, setting the stage for a third consecutive Cavaliers vs. Warriors NBA Finals matchup. This third installment will feature new faces as Warriors’ All-Star Kevin Durant tries to secure his first title. However, it’s the decade-plus veterans in Cleveland who are getting their first crack at the gold — which excites James.

“I think the first thing for me was seeing the excitement on Kyle [Korver’s] and Deron [Williams’] face,” James, who will appear in his seventh consecutive NBA Finals, said. “You’ve got one guy with 12 years, first Finals appearance, and another guy 14 [years]. So that’s the first thing I picked. And just to see the excitement around my teammates — I do it for them, and they give it back to me as well.”

The Cavaliers struggled after acquiring Korver in January and issues with their backup point guards forced the team to acquire Williams. Now, the team and its reinforcements are four wins from bringing a second consecutive NBA title to Cleveland.

Here are some additional tidbits surrounding the Cavaliers:

  • In a separate piece, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reveals that Cavaliers forward Kevin Love refused to join James for a dual media session after the team’s Game 5. Despite the duo appearing simultaneously after previous contests, Love explained that James deserved to have the spotlight on just him after the team secured its third straight Finals appearance.”I just told [communications director] Tad [Carper] I wouldn’t share a podium with him because tonight is a night where he deserves to be on his own,” Love said.
  • Former NBA champion and Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer appeared on The Rematch Podcast with Etan Thomas recently and explained why he prefers James over Michael Jordan. While Laimbeer and the Pistons engaged in several wars with the Jordan-led Bulls decades ago, he feels James’ skills supersede the Chicago legend. “LeBron can do anything. Michael couldn’t get all the rebounds. He couldn’t be the assist man like LeBron James can,” Laimbeer said (via USA Today). “He was very focused on scoring, a deadly assassin, but the rest of the part of his game, LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.”

And-Ones: Free Agents, D-League, Bennett, Oden

Several under-the-radar players who will be free agents this summer are improving their bargaining position with their performance in the playoffs, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. He identifies six players, starting with Golden State big man JaVale McGee, who is averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks through five games despite playing just 11.8 minutes per night. McGee signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Warriors for the veteran’s minimum and could be in line for a huge pay raise in July. The others that Kennedy singles out are Serge Ibaka of the Raptors, Joe Ingles of the Jazz, Nene of the Rockets, Andre Roberson of the Thunder and Deron Williams of the Cavaliers.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • The Texas Legends, the Mavericks‘ affiliate in the D-League, have given coach Bob MacKinnon a two-year extension, tweets D-League Digest. The D-League veteran is in his first season with the Legends.
  • Invitations have been issued for the D-League’s Elite Mini Camp, which will be held May 8-9 in Chicago, relays Chris Reichert of FanSided. Many players have used this showcase to earn spots on summer league rosters, with alumni such as Jonathon Simmons, Hollis Thompson and DeAndre Liggins. Among the best-known names at this year’s camp will be Russ Smith, JaKarr Sampson, Ray McCallum and Cliff Alexander.
  • Former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, who played 23 games for the Nets this season, has been replaced on his Fenerbahce team in Turkey, according to Bugra Uzar of Eurohoops. Taking his spot on the roster is Pero Antic, who played for the Hawks from 2013 to 2015. Bennett will remain with the club and is expected to be part of the upcoming EuroLeague Final Four.
  • Greg Oden, another former No. 1 pick, is hoping to be part of The Basketball Tournament this summer on ESPN, relays Alysha Tsuji of USA Today. Oden’s team is called Scarlet and Gray and is made up of Ohio State alumni. “We think we’re a team that can win it,” he said. “We look at the talent we’ve had here in the last 10 years or so, and we can match up with anybody. We want the state of Ohio supporting us. We’re called Scarlet and Gray, but this team is a representation of the whole state.”

Cavaliers Notes: Griffin, Gilbert, Korver, Williams

The Magic and Suns could both make a run at Cavaliers GM David Griffin after the playoffs end, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.com. Orlando, which fired GM Rob Hennigan earlier this month, would consider doubling Griffin’s salary to bring him on board. Phoenix is a legitimate threat because Griffin is from that area and started his career with the Suns. GM Ryan McDonough is safe in Phoenix, according to Amico, but the team could offer Griffin a president’s role, similar to what Phil Jackson has in New York, where he would have the final say on all basketball decisions.

Griffin’s first choice is to stay in Cleveland, and owner Dan Gilbert would like to keep him, but that’s not a guarantee that things will work out. Griffin took over GM’s post in 2014 with the expectation of building a young team, but that changed quickly when LeBron James announced his intention to return. Griffin’s goals quickly changed to building a championship team, and his performance in doing that ensures he will get a big payoff this summer. The only question is whether it comes from the Cavs or someone else.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Kyle Korver took an instant liking to the organization after being acquired in a January 7th trade with the Hawks, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers have Bird rights on the free agent swingman and can go over the cap for his new contract. Vardon indicates that Korver seems likely to re-sign, but there haven’t been any serious internal discussions about his future because of the uncertainty surrounding Griffin.
  • The same situation affects point guard Deron Williams, Vardon adds in the same piece. The significant different for Williams is that because he signed as a free agent after agreeing to a buyout with the Mavericks in February, the Cavs don’t own his Bird rights. They will be limited to the veteran’s minimum, which was $1.55MM this season, and Williams can probably find better offers elsewhere.
  • Chemistry concerns that haunted the Cavaliers this season seem like less of an issue after the first-round sweep of the Pacers, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. “A lot of egos can get in the way, a lot of things could get in the way of a team being successful as a team,” said Kyrie Irving. “Us putting our individual sacrifices to the side and the only thing that matters is us winning and advancing, as long as that’s first, we’ll always be in a good place.”

Central Notes: D-Will, Teague, Pacers, Pistons

After LeBron James called for the Cavaliers to add a playmaker back in January, the team didn’t make a major move for the next several weeks, as the trade deadline came and went without that so-called “playmaker” joining the team. The Cavs lucked out in the buyout market though, landing veteran point guard Deron Williams after he was cut by the Mavericks, and according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Williams is getting increasingly comfortable in Cleveland and is looking like that playmaker the club sought.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com conveys a similar sentiment in his latest piece, noting that Williams is receiving praise from the players whose assessment of the Cavaliers roster matters most: LeBron. “Every day he’s getting more and more comfortable with what we want to do,” James said of the veteran point guard. “We needed him. We’re happy we got him.”

As LeBron, D-Will, and the Cavs look ahead to the second round of the playoffs, let’s round up a few more notes from around the Central division…

  • Within a piece examining the Pacers‘ upcoming offseason decisions, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders cites league sources who believe that free-agent-to-be Jeff Teague could be in line for a contract worth $15-17MM annually, or even more than that if other top point guards quickly re-sign with their own teams.
  • With the Pacers facing an uncertain future, Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star argues that team president Larry Bird deserves some criticism for a handful of questionable decisions and roster moves.
  • Following a disappointing season for the Pistons, Rod Beard of The Detroit News makes five suggestions for ways the team could potentially improve this summer.
  • Boban Marjanovic didn’t play much for the Pistons in the first season of his three-year deal with the team, but his audition will give Stan Van Gundy plenty to consider as the club weighs how to use Marjanovic going forward, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Boban could become a more crucial piece of Detroit’s rotation in 2017/18 if Aron Baynes departs in free agency.

Eastern Notes: George, Williams, Lowry

It’s time for the Pacers to deal Paul George since he can become a free agent next summer, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders contends. Hamilton compares the Pacers’ situation to the Jazz’s back in 2011. Utah sent Deron Williams to the Nets when the point guard still had over a year left on his contract. Brooklyn gave up quite a haul for Williams and the Jazz were able to easily rebuild. Hamilton names the Lakers as a potential trade partner.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Cavaliers won Game 4 against the Pacers today and Williams played a key role in the win, as Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media group details. Williams can to Cleveland via the buyout market this season. It was previously reported that the waiver and buyout process could be altered this offseason.
  • Coach Brad Stevens surprisingly started Gerald Green in Game 3 of the Celtics’ series against the Bulls and Green will get the nod again in Game 4, Jared Weiss of SB Nation relays. Green is on a one-year, minimum salary deal and he’ll be a free agent this offseason.
  • Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post wonders if the Raptors are going to pay Kyle Lowry a max contract if they lose in the first round. Bontemps believes rival teams, like the Sixers, will be willing to pay him the max for his services regardless of Toronto’s playoff success. Lowry can become a free agent this summer.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Irving, Williams

There’s no denying that Lance Stephenson has had an impact on the Pacers since returning to their lineup for the first time since he left via free agency in 2014. Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star writes that the 26-year-old is now giving Indiana exactly what the team needs.

When your teammates believe in you, and the organization believes in you, the game becomes easy,” Stephenson said of his return to the Pacers.

In his first game back, the swingman nearly instigated a brawl by driving home a layup in the waning seconds of a game the Pacers already won. Days later he fanned the flames of animosity with an Instagram post calling out the Raptors for being hypocritical in their response.

More important than any contributions as an instigator is the fact that Stephenson has helped the Pacers to their first back-to-back victories since February. With that two-game win streak, the club has laid claim to the Eastern Conference’s eight-seed (for now).

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • A flare-up in his surgically repaired left knee had Kyrie Irving limping off the floor in Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “It just, I don’t want it to feel sore anymore but it’s just the realization of it,” the Cavaliers guard said. “I’m doing everything possible to take care of my body, I’ve got a clear conscience with that. But also understand that sometimes it’s gonna hurt. And I gotta be able to deal with it.”
  • The Cavaliers may not be using free agent addition Deron Williams to his full potential but don’t fault them for it. Williams was the best and cheapest option available to the team when he was signed but often requires the ball in his hands to be his most dominant, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. For the most part, the Cavs would prefer to keep the ball in the hands of LeBron James or Irving.
  • A second-round pick currently helping guide the Bucks to a six-seed in the Eastern Conference is in the running for the Rookie of the Year award, but Malcolm Brogdon has asked the club to donate the money it would have spent on an extravagant campaign on his behalf to charity instead. Per Alysha Tsuji of USA Today, Brogdon, who averages 10.3 points and 4.3 assists per game, sits second on the publication’s rookie tracker.
  • Veteran Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson has struggled with asthma throughout his life and changes to how he combated the condition have led to his prolonged career, AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today writes.

Cavaliers Notes: Williams, Lue, Korver, Arena

The Cavaliers slipped into second place in the East with Monday’s loss in San Antonio, and the disappointing performance by role players is part of the problem, writes Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. He singles out Deron Williams, who signed with the Cavs after being waived by the Mavericks last month, along with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye. All except Williams have contracts that run beyond this season.

Smith is working his way back from a broken thumb, but Amico contends that he has been ineffective all season. Smith is averaging 8.0 points per game and shooting just 33% from the field after agreeing to a four-year, $57MM deal in October.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Coach Tyronn Lue may be willing to fall farther in the standings if it means getting rest for some of his players before the postseason, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Cleveland is just two games up on third-place Washington and two and a half ahead of fourth-place Toronto. “I know the situation in Boston we had where we was back and forth between the first and second seed and Doc [Rivers] decided to rest [Kevin Garnett], Ray [Allen] and Paul [Pierce] the last seven games,” said Lue, who was an assistant with the Celtics. “We was the four seed and still went to the Finals. He picked health over seed and that was important to us knowing if he had a healthy team we’d be OK. I kind of feel the same way.” However, Vardon says Lue doesn’t remember the situation accurately as the Celtics’ three veterans barely had their playing time changed.
  • The Cavaliers are paying the price for resting their stars earlier in the season rather than trying to win every night, charges Bill Livingston of Cleveland.com.
  • Kyle Korver will be held out through Friday to get treatment on his sore left foot, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. He missed Monday’s game in San Antonio, and won’t play Thursday at Chicago or Friday against Philadelphia. Korver will be re-assessed after those games and hopes he won’t miss the rest of the regular season. “I’m hopeful just a few days here to completely shut down and not trying to test it out and see how it feels today,” he said. “Take a few days and let it totally calm down and see where we’re at.”
  • Cleveland City Council was scheduled to open debate this morning on a proposed upgrade to Quicken Loans Arena, according to Robert Higgs of Cleveland.com. If approved, the project will combine $88MM in city funds with millions from the county and the team. The Cavs hope to start construction this summer and have it complete in time to host the 2020 All-Star Game.
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