Ed Davis

And-Ones: Lillard, Role Players, Seattle, Lawson

During a recent appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast (h/t to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard, who recently signed a super-max extension to stay in Portland through 2025, explains his thoughts as to why more players don’t do the same.

“I think people walk away from it because of the media… the outside influence, people talking about their legacy… so (the players) say, ‘It’s not about the money. I want to win the championship. And I want to do this.”

“But I don’t think just because you decide to stay and not pass up on that money, that don’t mean you ain’t trying to win it. When you’re 42 years old and your career [is] over, and you ain’t won it, anyway, and you walked away from 60 million dollars more than what you got, they ain’t even going to be talking about you then. The joke is going to be on you.”

Lillard’s point is an interesting one, and it begs the question as to how many players eligible for a super-max turned it down for this reason. Even though he won a championship in Toronto, Kawhi Leonard almost certainly did not. But, it’s conceivable Anthony Davis felt pressure to leave the Pelicans because outside influences convinced him he couldn’t win a title in New Orleans and that outcome would be bad for his legacy.

We have more content from around the basketball world, below:

  • Quinn Davis of Basketball Insiders takes a look at three role players who could make an impact on a team with championship aspirations next season: Sixers forward James Ennis, Clippers forward Maurice Harkless, and Jazz big man Ed Davis.
  • Newly inducted Hall-of-Famer, big man Jack Sikma, said during his induction speech last night that it’s time for the NBA to return to Seattle, writes Anthony Olivieri of ESPN. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our great hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s time.”
  • The Xinjang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are considering the signing of former NBA guard Ty Lawson because Ian Clark cannot report to the team yet due to an injury, per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Northwest Notes: Murray, Wolves, Jazz, Thunder

Jamal Murray‘s new five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Nuggets will start at 25% of the cap if the standout guard doesn’t make an All-NBA team in 2019/20, which would make the deal worth $169.65MM based on the league’s current cap projections.

However, as Bobby Marks of ESPN outlines (via Twitter), the two sides agreed to include Rose Rule language in Murray’s new deal, which would increase the value of the contract in the event that he has a huge ’19/20 season. If Murray earns All-NBA honors in 2020, his starting salary would be worth 26% (Third Team), 27.5% (Second Team), or 30% (First Team) of the cap.

That means Murray’s five-year extension could have a value as high as $203.58MM if he makes the All-NBA First Team or wins the MVP award next season, which is a long shot. A spot on the Second Team would result in a deal worth a total of $186.62MM, while a Third Team nod would bump the total value to $176.44MM.

As we wait to see if Murray can have a breakout year and insert himself into the All-NBA discussion, here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • With Tom Thibodeau no longer in the picture in Minnesota, the Timberwolves project to have a deeper rotation to start the 2019/20 season than they did a year ago. Still, as Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune writes, with so many young, hungry players on the roster, there should be some interesting position and rotation battles in training camp this fall.
  • Upon being introduced by the Jazz on Friday, veterans Ed Davis and Jeff Green said they chose Utah because they view the team as a team capable of competing for a championship, as Aaron Falk of UtahJazz.com relays.
  • In a pair of stories, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman and Brett Dawson of The Athletic explore whether Sam Presti‘s references to “repositioning” and “replenishing” – rather than “rebuilding” – the Thunder is merely semantics, or if it provides a clue for how the process in Oklahoma City might play out.

Ed Davis Signs Two-Year Deal With Jazz

JULY 20, 8:03am: The signing is official, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

JUNE 30, 9:20pm: The Jazz have agreed to sign big man Ed Davis to a two-year deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com passes along via Twitter. Davis will make $10MM over the next two seasons.

Utah will use the room exception to sign Davis, which is the same type of deal the big man inked last summer in Brooklyn. Davis was our Room Exception MVP, as I broke down in our contract awards.

Davis had previously stated that the financials would likely dictate his destination in free agency. “First is the money…Then, two is fit,” Davis said last month.

The Jazz agreed to a contract with Bojan Bogdanovic earlier in the day, reaching a four-year, $73MM deal with the wing. The team is expected to either trade or waive Derrick Favors in order to accommodate the signing. Davis will help Utah fortify its big man rotation.

Sixers Notes: Horford, Brogdon, Butler

It’s not a given that the Sixers bring back their five starters this offseason.

Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris will each have rival teams looking to offer them a max deal. J.J. Redick will likely see heavy interest on the market as well, with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer hearing that shooting guard will yield offers in the range of $12MM annually.

“They have tough decisions to make and so do we,” GM Elton Brand said.

Bringing back those three players will put the Sixers over the salary cap and out of contention for a number of free agents. Should the team decide to make major changes, there’s a wide range of talent on the market.

“We definitely need hard-nose players, shooting,” Brand said. “We want to add shooting. If you watch the playoffs, these are playoff-tested players … I don’t want to say names … but [the Sixers want] veteran-tested players, playoff-tested players that can take us over the edge with our talent.”

Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon, and Danny Green are players the team could have interest in Pompey adds.

Here’s more on Philadelphia and the team’s pending free agents:

  • Don’t be surprised if the Clippers make a play to sign Harris, Pompey notes. The combo forward, who came to the Sixers via a midseason trade with the club, will be taking meetings on June 30 and July 1.
  • The Sixers may have to offer a five-year deal in order to keep Jimmy Butler, Pompey writes. Butler and his camp are meeting this week to go over free agent objectives.
  • Marcus Morris, Ed Davis, Ish Smith, Cory Joseph, and Patrick Beverley are among the free agents whom the Sixers could pursue, Pompey adds in the same piece. The team has confidence in its ability to lure one or two impactful free agents should it lose one of its max free agents.
  • Derek Bodner of the Athletic details how the Sixers are devaluing second-round picks. The team will have three more second-rounders next year after wheeling and dealing picks last week, as I recently detailed.
  • Furkan Korkmaz may join Turkish team Fenerbahce next season, according to Sportando. The former No. 26 overall pick is all but certain not to be back in Philadelphia next year.

Eastern Notes: Davis, Knicks, Wizards

Ed Davis knows what he wants in free agency, as he tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

“First is the money,” Davis said. “Then, two is fit. Then, if it’s a playoff team or a non-playoff team or an old team or young team. Whatever fits best for you. The last thing I guess is the city, but for sure a guy like me is definitely the money for sure.

“A lot of guys won’t say it, but trust me, 99.9 percent of the guys it’s about money just like for your job. You’re going where the money is at. People look at us athletes and think that we’re not supposed to take what’s best for us. It’s definitely about the money.”

Davis played for the Nets last season under a one-year deal worth slightly under $4.45MM. Brooklyn signed him via the room exception and Davis received Hoops Rumors’ award for the best player on that type of deal.

“Hopefully I get a pay raise,” Davis said. “Don’t we all want a pay raise? I’ve been talking to my agent, and we’ll see what’s going to happen in July. Hopefully, I’m back in Brooklyn. But if not, I definitely enjoyed my time there, and I appreciate every minute that I had in Brooklyn. I’m still working out there every day right now. We’ll see what happens. It’s a business. You know how it goes.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Davis wants the Nets to pass up on Kyrie Irving and bring back D’Angelo Russell, as Scotto passes along (same piece). “I don’t know if them two [Irving and Russell] can work or however it’s going to go,” Davis said.  “I thought D’Angelo did a hell of a job, and I thought he was going to be the starting point guard for the future for Brooklyn, but like I said, you know how things go. That’s why Sean and Kenny [Atkinson) get paid the big bucks to figure out things like that. I wish it was D’Angelo and I hope things work out for him. They will, but I don’t know Kyrie, so I’m all for DLo.” 
  • The Knicks are not expected to pursue second-tier max free agents if they strike out on the top stars, Brian Windhorst said on ESPN (video link). “I don’t expect them to chase a Tobias Harris or Khris Middleton type of player, or Jimmy Butler. I think they’re going to try to get Durant and if they can’t get Durant, they’re going to move on with RJ Barrett as the centerpiece of their team moving forward,” Windhorst said.
  • Windhorst hears (separate video link) that the Wizards were interested in Toronto executive Masai Ujiri but will not pursue him, echoing what owner Ted Leonsis said recently.
  • Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post wonders what is going on in the Wizards‘ front office. The team doesn’t currently have a team president and doesn’t plan on adding one before free agency begins.

Nets Targeting Big Men In Draft?

There’s no guarantee that the Nets will use all three of their picks (Nos. 17, 27, and 31) in the 2019 NBA draft, as those selections could become trade assets next month. But assuming they keep at least one or two, they’ll be using those picks to target a certain type of player, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv.

According to Begley, Brooklyn is hoping to draft a big man that can either complement or back up starting center Jarrett Allen.

As Begley observes, there’s not necessarily a consensus among draft evaluators this season about which players will come off the board in the middle or back end of the first round, so it’s hard to say which bigs will be available to the Nets. However, Begley identifies Bol Bol (Oregon), Goga Bitadze (Republic of Georgia), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State), Naz Reid (LSU), and Nicolas Claxton (Georgia) as possible options.

Allen had a promising sophomore season for Brooklyn in 2018/19, averaging 10.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG with a .590 FG%. Despite Allen’s strides, the Nets’ front line, with Allen and Ed Davis handling most of the center minutes, was undersized on many nights, Begley notes. That was on display during the team’s first-round loss to Joel Embiid and the Sixers.

With Davis facing unrestricted free agency and a desire to add more size to their frontcourt, the Nets will see if they can address that hole at all in the draft.

Pelicans Notes: Zion, Culver, Davis

Those concerned about Zion Williamson‘s game being dependent on his athleticism are overthinking the evaluation process.

“So (Williamson) is 18 now,” a non-Pelicans executive explains to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. “He’ll play his first NBA season at 19. He’ll be 23 when his second contract starts. Even if we get him for eight seasons and that takes us all the way through his team-controlled years, that only gets us through his age-26 season. And if he ends up being good enough to be with us for eight years as a No. 1 overall pick, we probably won’t complain because he’ll have been a good player. I don’t think we should worry about his athleticism falling off by then unless he gets hurt.”

A few of the front office analytic executives who spoke with Vecenie told him that Williamson’s projection is actually more favorable than Anthony Davis‘ was coming out of college. Opinions throughout the league are split. Some executives believe Davis was the better prospect while others feel it’s extremely close.

The Pelicans are selecting Williamson after winning the draft lottery, barring an upset of massive proportions. Let’s take a look at more notes from New Orleans:

  • The Pelicans met with Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech) at the draft combine in Chicago, NBA writer Jim Eichenhofer tweets. “You never know what could happen. Anything could happen. You just have to be ready,” Culver said. New Orleans could be looking at a second top-5 selection if they trade Davis to the Knicks or Lakers.
  • Pelicans owner Gayle Benson called Davis’ trade request “disappointing” during a commencement speech she made for Loyola University. Benson referred to the team’s on-court performance as “frustrating” and said that the franchise has “not adapted to the reality of today’s NBA,” as Christopher Dabe of The Time-Picayune passes along.
  • The Pelicans hired David Griffin to lead a more analytical approach in the front office. It wasn’t easy for ownership to dismiss former GM Dell Demps, as Dabe relays in the same piece. “I must be honest with myself in making painful decisions because my ultimate responsibility is to the fans,” Benson said.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Atlantic Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Atlantic Division:

Terry Rozier, Celtics, 24, PG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $8.8MM deal in 2015
Rozier has struggled most of the season after his breakout performances in last season’s playoffs, when he averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 5.7 APG while subbing for an injured Kyrie Irving. So why is his stock up? Irving’s commitment to the organization is shaky at best, which makes restricted free agent Rozier a major insurance policy. Rozier would clearly benefit from becoming a starter in Boston or elsewhere. He has averaged 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 5.7 APG the last six games in which Irving missed and he played. He rarely turns the ball over, which makes any coach happy.

Ed Davis, Nets, 29, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $4.45MM deal in 2018
Davis consistently stays in a team’s rotation by knowing his role and his limitations. He’s told to rebound and play defense and he does those well. Davis is averaging a career-high 8.5 RPG while playing pretty much the same minutes he logged for Portland the previous three seasons. He sports a strong 1.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating, according to Basketball-Reference. He’ll continue to find work as a second-unit fixture who doesn’t mind letting his teammates do all the scoring.

Mario Hezonja, Knicks, 24, SF (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $6.5MM deal in 2018
Hezonja had a second chance to shed the label of ‘bust’ by signing with the rebuilding Knicks after three forgettable seasons with Orlando. Perhaps his label should now read ‘colossal bust.’ Hezonja is destined to go down as one of the worst top-five picks in the last two decades. In 46 games, Hezonja has averaged 7.6 PPG on 39.7% shooting and 3.7 RPG while compiling more turnovers than assists. He hasn’t played since mid-February due to a knee injury or coach’s decision. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Croatian native spends the remainder of his career in Europe.

Boban Marjanovic, 76ers, 30, C (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2016
Marjanovic has been sidelined recently by a knee injury. He’s been highly productive and always entertaining when he plays. The 7’3″ center is a throwback to another era when slow-footed giants were more prevalent in the league. Marjanovic is impossible to stop when he gets the ball down low but his lack of mobility make it tough to play him for long stretches. The happy-go-lucky Marjanovic is a fan and locker-room favorite who might get a short-term deal as a third-string backup but it’s doubtful he’ll receive another three-year offer.

Danny Green, Raptors, 31, SG (Up)– Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Green was the ‘other’ starter in the blockbuster Spurs-Raptors trade this offseason. Green isn’t an All-Star talent like Kawhi Leonard or DeMar DeRozan, but he’s a solid NBA starter on one of the top teams in the league. He gained that status in San Antonio and nothing’s changed north of the border. Green has taken two-thirds of his shots from beyond the arc and made 43.3%, his best long-distance average since the 2011/12 season. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus rating has dropped this year but he’s still a plus 1.2. Green’s 3-point shooting alone will guarantee him a nice payday this summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nets Notes: Rotation, Kurucs, LeVert, Davis

Now that the Nets have a healthy lineup again, it’s up to coach Kenny Atkinson to find the right combinations to break them out of a slump, writes Greg Joyce of The New York PostCaris LeVert, Allen Crabbe and Jared Dudley recently returned from injuries, leaving Spencer Dinwiddie, who had thumb surgery in late January, as the only player still sidelined. However, Brooklyn has lost six of its last eight games and has fallen back to .500.

“I think part of getting healthy again is just getting that chemistry and getting our lineups right,” Atkinson said. “That’s where we’re a little — confused is the wrong word, but we’re trying to figure it out what the best thing is and who’s getting the minutes and all that. It’s almost like another new season for us with all our returning players.”

LeVert was off to a sizzling start before suffering a dislocated foot in November, and backcourt partner D’Angelo Russell didn’t begin to excel until LeVert got injured. Atkinson has to find a way for them to be effective together, while also working out a logjam at power forward, where Treveon GrahamRondae Hollis-Jefferson and Dudley are all battling for playing time.

There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

  • Also competing for minutes at forward will be rookie forward Rodions Kurucs, even though he was held out of the lineup Thursday, Joyce adds in a separate story. Atkinson said the 21-year-old, who was part of the Rising Stars Challenge, will remain in the mix for a spot in the rotation.
  • LeVert expected to be out for the season when he first suffered his injury, relays Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily“I looked down and I was like, ‘Man, this is bad,’” LeVert said in an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “But I think, probably 15-20 minutes after it happened, they kind of told me that it may have only been a dislocation. And that was the best case scenario in that situation.”
  • Ed Davis was happy to get a one-year, $4.4MM offer from the Nets last summer, but he wasn’t sure he would be joining a contender, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “When I signed here in July, I didn’t think this was a playoff team, honestly,” Davis said. “But when I got here and started to see players and how good guys were — and see coach, his philosophies and his schemes — my mindset changed.”

Nets Notes: Allen, Russell, Trades

There aren’t many “untouchables” in the NBA when it comes to trade talks, though most teams have a few players that it would take a king’s ransom to part with. Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and D’Angelo Russell have earned their place in the Nets‘ long-term outlook and barring an overwhelming return, Michael Scotto of The Athletic doesn’t envision any of the three going anywhere anytime soon.

Before the season, Russell’s inclusion on the list may have seemed silly, but the former No. 2 overall pick is having his best season as a pro and he’s become a key part of the team’s success.

“Everything that we do offensively, he is sort of the lifeblood of us,”  Joe Harris said after a recent Nets win. “Everything flows through him. He does a really good job of dictating the pace, getting guys in rhythm, and just doing a really good job on every level. He does a really good job facilitating for others and for himself. Obviously, we’re really lucky to have a player of his caliber on our team.”

Russell will be a restricted free agent after the season. GM Sean Marks has a history of going after other team’s RFAs and this offseason, he’ll likely get a taste of his own medicine with rival teams looking at Russell.

Scotto offers more in his piece for The Athletic. Here are the highlights:

  • Ed Davis, who signed a one-year deal last summer, hopes to remain with the Nets long-term, as he tells Scotto. “I’m at a point in my career where I don’t want to keep bouncing around,” Davis said. “This is my fifth team. I’ve got a wife and kids. They like it here. It’s close to home, so hopefully, when the season is over, we can figure something out and make something work.
  • The Nets love Allen’s ability to pick up schemes quickly and his coachability, Scotto adds in the same piece. Allen has made highlight reels with his ability to make monstrous blocks but he’s actively working on his offense, including a corner 3-point shot.
  • Harris and Rodions Kurucs are unlikely to be traded but if either player was put on the trade block, the Nets would likely garner a first-round pick in return, Scotto speculates. The scribe adds that if there were a re-draft of this year’s rookie class, Kurucs, who was selected with the No. 40 overall pick, would be a first-rounder.