Ed Davis

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.

Ed Davis Wants To Remain With Nets

After bouncing around the league for much of his career, Ed Davis is hoping for a long-term future in Brooklyn, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Davis is averaging a career-best 8.1 rebounds off the bench as the Nets have gotten off to a 16-19 start after winning just 28 games last season.

“Honestly, no. I didn’t think it was going to pan out like this,” Davis said. “Obviously I’m happy that I am here, but I can’t lie to you. July 1 I didn’t think we were going to be one game out of the eighth spot and play a team [Charlotte] two games in a row that we can definitely move up in the standings on. I couldn’t predict that.”

Brooklyn became Davis’ fifth team in a nine-year NBA career when he agreed to a one-year, $4.4MM contract in free agency. The Raptors drafted him in 2010 and traded him to the Grizzlies three years later. He signed with the Lakers in 2014, then the Trail Blazers in 2015.

At 29, he’s a veteran presence on a young team rising up the East standings and hopes to keep that role for a few more years.

“Obviously I want to be back,” Davis said. “I said that so hopefully it works out in the summer. But my main focus is just try to help this team and make the playoffs. Good things happen when you win and you make the playoffs — that’s just my mindset. And if we do that, everything works out.”

In addition to experience, Davis has brought toughness to the Nets, especially on the boards. He leads the league in offensive rebound percentage at 16.6% and is second in overall rebound percentage at 22.2%. That’s part of the reason former Portland teammates C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard lamented his loss on social media when they learned he was headed to Brooklyn.

“He’s able to [lead] because he’s about the right stuff,” Nets guard Joe Harris said. “He’s had experience in the league, he’s played on good teams and when he says something, everybody holds him in high regard, just because he’s professional, he works hard, he doesn’t ever complain, doesn’t make excuses. Everybody on the team respects him as a player and a person, and what he says carries a lot of weight.”

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Davis, RHJ, Carroll

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie became eligible for an extension on Saturday but there doesn’t seem to be much progress between the two parties. Dinwiddie’s agent, Raymond Brothers, indicated that to the New York Post’s Brian Lewis. “No news. Nothing to report,” Brothers said.

Dinwiddie can receive as much as $47.5MM on a four-year extension and has said he’d be willing to sign for that amount. Several NBA sources told Lewis that Dinwiddie could get more as an unrestricted free agent next summer. Dinwiddie is currently making just $1.65MM this season, a huge bargain for a productive rotation player. He scored a career-high 39 points on Wednesday.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Big man Ed Davis knows changes could be on the horizon if the team doesn’t start winning games in bunches soon, as he told Michael Scotto of The Athletic. “It’s not just a coaching job that can change, they start trading people. It gets crazy when you lose and how you’re losing,” Davis said. Dinwiddie is also aware that the pressure is building on the current roster to start producing. “I’d venture to guess that if we continued to lose trades would happen, as they should. That’s (GM) Sean (Marks’) job,” he said.
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson‘s return to the lineup has helped the Nets crack down defensively, Lewis writes in a separate story. Wins over the Raptors and Knicks this past weekend were facilitated by Hollis-Jefferson’s versatility. He recently returned from an adductor injury. “He can guard a 2, a 3, a 4, a 1. Its just huge for us. And he wants that responsibility. He’s embracing it more now that he’s feeling better physically,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. Hollis-Jefferson will be a restricted free agent in the summer if the team extends a $3,594,369 qualifying offer.
  • DeMarre Carroll has struggled since returning from ankle surgery last month but Atkinson will remain patient with him, Lewis details in another story. The small forward becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. “It’s a little bit him, it’s a little bit me trying to get that confidence back in him that he’s fully healthy and can contribute,” Atkinson said. “He’s not near where he was last year, that’s my estimation. But DeMarre’s DeMarre: That guy’s the ultimate professional, great team guy. We have an understanding where he is.”

Nets Notes: Graham, Carroll, Davis, Allen

After two years with the Hornets, Treveon Graham signed with the Nets during the offseason because he wanted a chance to compete for serious playing time, relays Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. Graham appeared in just 27 games as a rookie, but worked his way into Charlotte’s rotation last year, averaging 16.7 minutes in 63 games. He accepted a one-year deal with a team option to come to Brooklyn in hopes of showing that he’s worthy of a larger role.

“What I told them as they were recruiting me was I wanted to go somewhere that I can compete for a job,” Graham said. “I understand nothing is going to be guaranteed to me. I’m going to fight for my minutes. That’s something they liked about me; how I am and how hard I work.”

Getting minutes won’t be easy to get as the Nets are stocked at the wing with DeMarre CarrollAllen Crabbe, Joe HarrisCaris LeVertDzanan MusaJared Dudley and Theo Pinson. However, Graham is eager for the competition.

“I feel like it’s up to me,” he said. “If I play and how much I play is up to me. It’s up to me to get in the gym and work. It’s up to me to show that I deserve to be on the court. I don’t want anything handed to me and that’s why I came here.”

There’s more today out of Brooklyn:

  • Entering his second year with the Nets, Carroll is grateful that the team brought in more veterans this summer to help with leadership roles, Fonseca writes in a separate story. In addition to Davis, Brooklyn signed 30-year old free agent Ed Davis and traded for the 33-year-old Dudley. “It’s just great to have another person who’s been through the fire and understands what it takes to win,” Carroll said.
  • Davis has become a valuable teacher for 20-year-old center Jarrett Allen, according to Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Davis, who has been in the league for eight years, has been sharing his knowledge of the finer points of post play and challenging Allen in practice. “It’s been helpful,” Allen said. “Ed Davis is amazing at rebounding. It’s helping me get ready for the season. … If he gets an offensive rebound, Coach is going to be yelling, and you don’t want Coach yelling. It’s my job to keep him off the glass.”
  • This year’s draft picks, Musa and Rodions Kurucs, won’t object if they are asked to spend some time in the G League, relays Net Income on NetsDaily

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Nets, Saric

It’s hard to be patient when building a team under the spotlight of New York City, Knicks president Steve Mills is acutely aware of just that. Still, after 45 years without a title and two particularly disappointing decades, the club is going to try it out.

I believe [Knicks] fans will accept a team that has a plan and you stick with it and if you deliver players, you do have some hope,” Mills told Steve Popper of Newsday. “[…] We think we have something we can see is different as long as we have the patience to stick to it.

Among other things, the Knicks will need to wait for Kristaps Porzingis to return from a knee injury months into the 2018/19 season and hope for progress out of raw 2017 lottery pick Frank Ntilikina.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have addressed their rebounding shortage with vigor. Chris Milholen of Nets Daily writes that the club’s acquisitions of Ed Davis, Kenneth Faried and now Alan Williams prove that they’re committed to improving that particular shortcoming.
  • It’s reasonable to assume that the Sixers envisioned Markelle Fultz as a starter when they drafted him. Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes that much-improved sophomore Dario Saric may need to return to the bench if that’s the case.
  • There are less than 10 days until training camp begins. Currently, two Atlantic Division teams have maxed out their rosters at 20. The Knicks, Raptors and 76ers all have one more space to fill. Check out our list of NBA roster counts for the rest of the league, broken down by team.

And-Ones: Kelly, O’Bryant, Leonard, Booker, Curry

Former Lakers and Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has signed a contract to play for SunRockeres Shibuya of Japan next season, according to a Sportando report. Kelly spent last season with Real Betis in Spain and averaged 13.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

Kelly, 27, last appeared in the NBA during the 2016/17 season with Atlanta, when he saw action in 16 games. He spent his first three seasons with the Lakers. The 6’11” power forward has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 19.2 MPG in his 163-game NBA career.

In other basketball news domestically and overseas:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv is close to signing power forward Johnny O’Bryant, according to another Sportando report. O’Bryant, 25, played 36 games last season with the Hornets, averaging 4.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 10.5 MPG. O’Bryant, 25, was traded to the Knicks in February and then waived. The 6’9” O’Bryant has also played for the Nuggets and Bucks, who selected him 36th overall in the 2014 draft.
  • Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo and Ben Simmons are among the dark-horse candidates to win the Most Valuable Player award, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A healthy Leonard would quickly become a prime MVP candidate, O’Connor opines, while Booker could have a breakout campaign after showing steady progress in his first three seasons.
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Warriors) and Isaiah Thomas (Nuggets) are obvious choices as the best bargains in free agency but as Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated notes, there are several other players who could fall into that category. Ed Davis (Nets), Seth Curry (Trail Blazers) and Brook Lopez (Bucks) should all provide production that far outweigh the deals that they signed, in Mahoney’s view.

Atlantic Notes: Davis, Dudley, Green, Celtics

After playing for four teams in eight seasons, newly signed Nets forward Ed Davis feels like he has found a place where he’s wanted, relays Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn was quick to pounce on Davis, offering a one-year, $4.4MM deal minutes after free agency opened.

“The main thing is they definitely came out aggressive when July 1 hit. I definitely wanted to go to where I was wanted, so that had a lot to do with it,” Davis said. “Then, I talked to Allen [Crabbe] and Jeremy [Lin] about the coaching staff and how the organization was run, and it was nothing but great things. Then, this team has potential, definitely. We can try to make this push into the playoffs this year. It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s one of the reasons why I’m here.”

Davis topped all NBA reserves in rebounding last season with 575, but the Trail Blazers decided he was expendable. Portland executive Neil Olshey told reporters he was on the phone when Davis when he received the Nets’ offer and advised him to accept it.

There’s more tonight from the Atlantic Division:

  • Veteran shooter Jared Dudley, who met the media today following a trade that sent him from the Suns to the Nets, almost came to Brooklyn two years ago, writes Tom Dowd of NBA.com. Dudley said he considered the franchise because of the style of offense that coach Kenny Atkinson runs. “That’s one of my strong suits here in the NBA with reading defenses, moving side-to-side, going to pick-and-rolls,” Dudley explained. “I just think it’s kind of a perfect match.”
  • He may be considered a throw-in from the Kawhi Leonard trade, but Danny Green is exactly the type of player the Raptors need, according to Steven Loung of SportsNet. Green will solve some of the team’s spacing issues with his 3-point accuracy, and he’s an excellent defender to match up against opposing wing players.
  • The Celtics were able to save some money by trading Abdel Nader to the Thunder instead of waiving him, Bobby Marks notes on ESPN Now. The move saves Boston about $675K in tax penalties and another $450K in salary. Getting rid of Nader leaves the Celtics with 14 guaranteed contracts and a tax bill of $3.8MM if they waive Rodney Purvis, whose $1,378,242 salary doesn’t become guaranteed until January 10.

Nets Sign Forward Ed Davis

JULY 23, 4:56pm: The team has made the signing official, according to Adam Zagoria of the New York Times (Twitter link).

JUNE 30, 11:45pm: The Nets and Ed Davis have agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.4MM contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Davis had been an unrestricted free agent.

Jusuf Nurkic‘s primary backup at the five during the 2017/18 season, Davis appeared in 78 games for the Trail Blazers, averaging 5.3 PPG on 58.2% shooting. The 29-year-old was also a force on the glass, racking up 7.4 RPG in just 18.9 minutes per contest.

Davis reportedly had interest in remaining in Portland, so it’s somewhat surprising that the two sides couldn’t work something out, given the modest price of his agreement with Brooklyn. However, the Blazers have been particularly cost-conscious so far this summer, having declined to tender qualifying offers to rotation players Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton.

Davis figures to step into a regular role for the Nets behind young center Jarrett Allen. Brooklyn is acquiring Dwight Howard in a trade with Charlotte, but the club is expected to negotiate a buyout with the former No. 1 pick, clearing the way for Davis to become Allen’s primary backup.

While the Nets should have some cap room available after buying out Howard, it’s possible that the team will wait to finalize its reported agreement with Davis. The room exception is worth $4,449,000 in 2018/19, so Davis’ deal would fit nicely.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.