Elfrid Payton

Contract Details: Knicks, Cook, T. Young, Mann

Details on the free agent contracts signed by the Knicks are starting to trickle in, with Bobby Marks of ESPN and Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights (Twitter links) providing specifics on Julius Randle‘s three-year deal.

While it was initially reported as being worth $63MM, Randle’s three-year pact with the Knicks has a base value of just $18MM in its first year, per Marks. Those cap hits increase to $18.9MM in year two and $19.8MM in year three, according to Siegel, who notes that the third year is partially guaranteed for just $4MM. The agreement has about $2MM in annual unlikely bonuses which could increase the total value into the $63MM range.

Here are details on a couple more Knicks contracts, as well as some other deals from around the NBA:

  • Taj Gibson and Elfrid Payton don’t technically have second-year team options on their respective contracts with the Knicks, but their second-year salaries are only guaranteed for $1MM apiece, according to Siegel (Twitter links).
  • The second season of the Lakers‘ two-year, $6MM deal with Quinn Cook is only partially guaranteed for $1MM, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). It would become fully guaranteed if Cook stays on the roster through June 29, 2020.
  • Thaddeus Young‘s three-year contract with the Bulls will have a total value between $40.6MM and 43.6MM, depending on whether he earns his incentives, tweets Pincus. The third year on Young’s deal is partially guaranteed for $6MM.
  • The Clippers used their cap room to sign second-rounder Terance Mann to a four-year, $6.2MM contract before they went over the cap to acquire Paul George, tweets Bobby Marks. A minimum-salary deal for Mann would be worth about $6.13MM over four years, so it sounds like he may get slightly more than the minimum in his rookie season.
    • Update: The first two years of Mann’s deal are guaranteed, and he’ll make $1MM in year one, tweets Siegel.

Knicks Officially Sign Randle, Portis, Gibson, Ellington, Payton

The Knicks officially finalized five of their free agent signings on Monday night, according to NBA.com’s transactions log, which lists the deals for Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton as having been completed.

Those deals are structured as follows:

  • Randle: Three years, $63MM. First two years guaranteed. (Story)
  • Portis: Two years, $31MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Gibson: Two years, $20MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Ellington: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)
  • Payton: Two years, $16MM. First year guaranteed. (Story)

While those five signings will use up most of the club’s cap room, there’s still one notable signing to be finalized, as Reggie Bullock‘s two-year, $21MM deal is not yet official.

Kemba Walker Signs Four-Year Deal With Celtics

JULY 6: Walker’s new deal with the Celtics is official, according to a tweet from the team. Walker was among the first free agents to commit to his new team when free agency began last Sunday.

JUNE 30, 5:24pm: Walker and the Celtics are formally in agreement on a four-year max deal, tweets Wojnarowski. As we detailed in our story of the Hornets’ agreement with Rozier, Boston is working on adding Kemba via sign-and-trade.

JUNE 30, 2:14pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that while talks remain exploratory in nature, the Celtics have shown interest in a three-team sign-and-trade with Irving, Walker, and Rozier (to the Hornets). Per Woj, the Celtics are interested in having the MLE at their disposal as opposed to the room exception. Woj also adds that the Nets would likely command a first-round pick from Boston for agreeing to a S&T.

JUNE 29, 3:39pm: Free agent point guard Kemba Walker has conveyed to the Hornets that he intends to sign with the Celtics when the NBA’s new league year begins, multiple sources tell Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Boston has been viewed as Walker’s likely landing spot in recent days, having emerged as the frontrunner for the All-NBA point guard earlier in the week.

Kemba intends to sign a four-year, maximum-salary contract (worth a projected $141MM), tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. He’ll be in Boston on Sunday night to finalize an agreement with the C’s, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

A three-time All-Star, Walker had perhaps the best year of his NBA carer in 2018/19, establishing a new career-high in PPG (25.6) while also contributing 5.9 APG and 4.4 RPG with a shooting line of .434/.356/.844.

Despite receiving little offensive help in Charlotte, Walker managed to keep the team in the playoff hunt for most of the season, though the Hornets ultimately fell short and finished in the lottery. If Walker had returned to Charlotte, the team would have been up against the luxury tax and would have had a hard time improving its roster around him, so the former UConn star will move on to a potential contender despite the fact that the Hornets could have offered him more money over more years.

Walker will join a Celtics roster that is set to feature Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart, so it will be fascinating to see what he can do in Boston without receiving quite as much attention from opposing defenses. The opportunity to play alongside those Celtics veterans and potentially go deep in the playoffs was a key factor in Walker’s decision, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link).

The C’s are expecting to lose Al Horford and, of course, Kyrie Irving, who has been rumored to be focused on Brooklyn. With Walker heading to Boston to replace Irving, the Hornets are scouring the free agent market for possible point guard targets of their own, according to Wojnarowski, who tweets that Elfrid Payton, T.J. McConnell, Ish Smith, and Emmanuel Mudiay are among the options being considered by Charlotte.

Terry Rozier‘s name has also been linked to the Hornets, though it’s unlikely that he’d be a viable option unless Charlotte and Boston can work out some sort of sign-and-trade arrangement, which is a long shot. By withdrawing Rozier’s qualifying offer and renouncing his cap hold, the Celtics will have enough room to sign Walker outright to a max deal, even with Daniel Theis‘ QO still on their books.

In addition to Boston and Charlotte, the Mavericks and Knicks had also been considered potential contenders for Walker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Payton, Raptors, Robinson, Jordan

Elfrid Payton will be given every opportunity to become the Knicks’ starting point guard next season, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports. Payton agreed to a two-year, $16MM deal with a team option for the second season. Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina are the other candidates for the starting role, though the team has shopped Ntilikina, Begley continues. It’s unclear whether the Knicks would consider a backcourt pairing of Payton and Smith, who started at the point after being acquired from the Mavericks last season.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors have to make more roster moves, regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard stays or goes, Blake Murphy of The Athletic notes. They currently have 10 players under standard NBA contracts, one on a two-way and another on an Exhibit 10 deal. With the Raptors’ needs in mind, Murphy takes a deep dive into the options still on the free agent market at each position.
  • Knicks second-year center Mitchell Robinson has been invited to join the Select Team at USA Basketball’s training camp, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps tweets. Robinson averaged 7.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 2.4 BPG in his rookie campaign.
  • The competition between centers Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan will be the biggest preseason battle in Nets’ camp, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Allen, 21, is seemingly a core piece for the franchise but the presence of Jordan, a close friend of Kevin Durant who agreed to a four-year, $40MM contract, creates a potential dilemma. Jordan may have lost a step, Lewis notes, but he’s been a starter throughout his career.

Knicks To Sign Elfrid Payton

The Knicks have agreed to a two-year, $16MM deal with free agent guard Elfrid Payton, his agents, Ty Sullivan and Aaron Mintz of CAA Sports, tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The agreement contains a team option in the second season, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto. That lines it up with the other two-year contract agreements the team has reached so far in free agency.

Payton, an athletic two-way point guard, is set to join his fourth team in the past 18 months. He was traded from Orlando to Phoenix in February of 2018, signed with New Orleans last July, and started 42 games with the club this season.

New York also had interest in veteran free agent George Hill, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, but Hill decided to return to Milwaukee on a three-year, $29MM deal on Sunday night. The team now has one open roster spot and roughly $2MM in projected cap space to spend, plus the $4.8MM room exception.

In addition to Payton, the Knicks have already come to terms with Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington during the first 24 hours of free agency.

Examining The Sixers’ 2019 Draft

The Sixers traded up four spots for Matisse Thybulle but outside of the prospect, the team didn’t add much immediate help in this year’s draft.

To move up to No. 20, Philadelphia had to surrender No. 24 and No. 33, the latter of which became Carsen Edwards—a three-point maestro. Edwards will play for the Celtics next season and could have a role right away depending on what happens with Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier.

The team sent the No. 42 pick to the Wizards in the Jonathon Simmons deal and dished the No. 34 pick to the Hawks for the No. 57 (later traded to the Pistons) and two future second-rounders. In total, the Sixers turned a late first-rounder and four second-rounders into Thybulle, Marial Shayok (No. 54 overall pick from Iowa State), a pair of future second-rounders and cash considerations.

Make no mistake, the draft wasn’t a trainwreck for Elton Brand, despite what Sixers’ Twitter may lead you to believe. Thybulle is a talented prospect. He’s a tremendous defender and he has the potential to be a premier wing in the league. While his ceiling is likely an ideal third-or-fourth best option, he’s the type of player that can elevate a team with established stars in place.

“When we saw him on the board, [and] a few other players in our box that we liked were gone, and he was our target,” Brand said (via Derek Bodner of The Athletic). “We had to move up to get him. Whatever it took. Dealing with whatever team. I had to get it done.”

Thybulle had long been rumored as a target for the Sixers. The wing didn’t work out for any teams leading up to the draft, signaling that he may have received a draft promise from a team.

“Philly showed interest early and we just trusted them, and decided that we were going to put our faith in them and kind of shut things down,” Thybulle said when asked about not having many workouts.

Many draft experts were able to connect the dots between the Washington prospect and the Sixers. The Celtics did the same thing, as Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com notes.

Just as former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie caught on to the Magic’s interest in Elfrid Payton back in 2014—Philly netted a first-round pick by simply implying they were also interested in the point guard and forcing Orlando to move up—the Celtics used wide-spread information against a rival team. Boston said they had interest in Thybulle and was able to bring in a second-rounder as a result.

Admittedly, Philadelphia’s use of second-round picks in this draft is puzzling. The No. 33 pick aside, there were seemingly players available who could have helped the team. Bruno Fernando (drafted at No. 34) stood out as someone whom the team could groom, with the franchise alternating minutes between the Maryland prospect and Jonah Bolden at the five on games where Joel Embiid sat out.

Philadelphia will have multiple second-round picks again next year with Atlanta’s 2020 selection coming in addition to a pick from either Brooklyn or New York (originally acquired from trading the 2015 No. 35 overall pick to the Knicks before the team made additional trades to complicate the projections) and one coming from Dallas (Nerlens Noel trade).

Southwest Notes: Holiday, Pelicans, Rockets

Although he has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2018/19 season, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday will still receive a $255K bonus for appearing in at least 66 games and averaging at least 7.3 assists per contest, ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes. Holiday averaged 7.7 APG in 67 games, and also achieved three separate bonuses for his games played, total minutes, and rebounds per game.

As a result of flipping some unlikely to bonuses to likely for 2019/20, Holiday will see his cap hit for next season increase to $26,231,111, according to Marks, who adds that the number could increase by another $100K if the standout guard is named to one of the NBA’s All-Defensive teams.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While the Pelicans are no longer vying for a postseason spot, the final couple weeks of the season could go a long way toward determining which players fit into the club’s plans beyond this season, writes Scott Kushner of The Advocate.
  • Elfrid Payton is one Pelicans players whose future remains uncertain. William Guillory of The Athletic takes a closer look at what the future may hold for Payton, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, recently claimed Daniel Hamilton off waivers, tweets Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days. Hamilton will be eligible to participate in the postseason for the Vipers, who finished atop the NBAGL’s Western Conference.
  • With the regular season winding down, the Rockets are aiming to trim their rotation to nine players in preparation for the playoffs. However, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details, the club is still figuring out who those nine players will be.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest 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 Southwest Division:

Maxi Kleber, 27, Mavericks, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.19MM deal in 2017
Kleber has received increased playing time since the blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis deal with the Knicks. He’s averaging 10.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 25.7 MPG as a starter this month while making 36% of his 3-point attempts. Kleber would be a restricted free agent if Dallas extends a $1.82MM qualifying offer. With loads of cap space to spare, the Mavs have plenty of incentive to make that modest offer for a rotation player, even though he’d probably move back to the bench next season when Porzingis is ready to play again.

Kenneth Faried, Rockets, 29, PF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $917K deal in 2019
Clint Capela‘s return from a thumb injury this week will reduce the Manimal’s minutes. He’ll still play a valuable role for Houston, where he has revived his career after getting bought out by Brooklyn. After appearing in just 12 games with the Nets, Faried has averaged 15.7 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 1.0 BPG in 13 outings with the Rockets. It seems Faried has been in the league a long time, but he’s still just 29. In an era of stretch fours and fives, it’s questionable whether anyone views Faried as a starter going forward. He should still get a multi-year deal somewhere as a second-unit difference maker.

Justin Holiday, Grizzlies, 29, SF (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9MM deal in 2017
Holiday was acquired from the Bulls when the Grizzlies still harbored hopes of making the playoffs. He didn’t move the needle at all before Memphis went into sell mode prior to the trade deadline. He’s averaged 8.2 PPG on 34.8% shooting (29.8% on 3-point tries) in 28.5 MPG with the Grizzlies. Holiday has posted below average PERs throughout his career, which doesn’t help his cause in the analytics era. Holiday has enough of a resume to land on someone’s bench next season but his days as a starter are likely over after this season.

Elfrid Payton, Pelicans, 25, PG (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $3MM deal in 2018
Payton inked a short-term, ‘show me’ contract after the former lottery pick flopped in Orlando and Phoenix. He was given the opportunity to replace free agent Rajon Rondo in the lineup but has spent a majority of the season in the trainer’s room. He’s appeared in just 19 games, with a right ankle sprain sidelining him for the last nine games heading into Friday’s action. The Pelicans lost six of the last eight games that he played. Payton will probably have to settle for another one-year deal this summer, this time in a backup role.

Dante Cunningham, Spurs, 31, SF (Down)– Signed to a one-year, $2.49MM deal in 2018
Cunningham has seen spot duty with the Spurs, averaging 15.9 MPG in 53 appearances. He’s managed to stay in the league for a decade, though he’s usually the No. 5 option at the offensive end. He accepts his limited role and provides some defense, so it’s possible he’ll squeeze out another veteran’s minimum deal with San Antonio or another playoff contender. But being on the wrong side of 30 means he’ll probably have to wait until late in the free agency period for an offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pelicans Notes: Ball, Davis, Lakers, Demps

Although Lonzo Ball would reportedly resist a trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans see him as an important part of any potential deal for Anthony Davis, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Sources tell her that Ball would become the starting point guard in New Orleans and would be given every opportunity to become a star.

Ball’s representatives had expressed concern that he might not have a clear role in a crowded Pelicans backcourt where Elfrid Payton is the starter at point guard and Jrue Holiday can also play that position. However, Holiday “doesn’t want to be a point guard” and prefers his current role, according to one source. It’s not clear whether the Pelicans intend to keep Payton or trade him to another team if they acquire Ball. He has an expiring $3MM contract and will be a free agent this summer.

There’s more Pelicans news to pass along:

  • The Lakers believe New Orleans is targeting Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac as the main components of a Davis trade, relays Sam Amick of The Athletic in an examination of the key players in the drama. However, he adds that L.A. should be prepared to give up Brandon Ingram if that’s what it takes to get a deal finalized before next week’s trade deadline. Sources also tell Amick that LeBron James has been visibly frustrated over the direction the Lakers’ season has taken since he was sidelined with a groin injury on Christmas Day. L.A. has fallen to ninth place in the West, which should increase the urgency to acquire Davis as soon as possible.
  • There has been speculation that the way the Davis situation has played out will eventually cost GM Dell Demps his job, but Justin Verrier of The Ringer points out that there’s no obvious candidate to replace him. In previous years, there was speculation that the Pelicans might ask Joe Dumars to take over, but Verrier suggests Dumars might have been responsible for those rumors. Many of Pelicans’ top executives also work for the NFL’s Saints and don’t have the basketball expertise to run a team. Former Hawks executive Danny Ferry has been serving as a consultant and could be next in line if Demps is dismissed. Verrier’s comments are part of a larger look at whether the NBA has a future in New Orleans.
  • Davis will talk to the media Friday afternoon for the first time since making his trade request, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate.

Knicks Notes: Kanter, Davis, Robinson, Ball

Knicks fans have taken Enes Kanter‘s side in his dispute with coach David Fizdale over playing time, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Kanter has sat out the past four games despite reportedly being promised an expanded role in the wake of an injury to Luke Kornet. Fans at Madison Square Garden expressed their support by chanting Kanter’s name during Sunday’s loss to the Heat.

“[If] it was a road game, I understand,” Kanter said. “But it’s a home game, and the fans wanted to see me out here. And they were chanting. I felt bad I couldn’t go out there and help my teammates and the organization. You can’t go out there and help the fans because they’re paying so much money to come watch us. They want to see me out there.”

Fizdale can’t claim it’s because he’s giving more time to younger players, Berman notes, because 30-year-old Lance Thomas has moved into the starting lineup at power forward. Kanter is a prime candidate to be traded by next week’s deadline or bought out if nothing materializes.

“My agent is saying just keep your head up, stay strong and stay in shape and keep being a good teammate and I’ll handle the rest,” Kanter said. “I’m going to leave it to him.”

There’s more this morning out of New York:

  • The Knicks are expected to be aggressive in their efforts to land Pelicans star Anthony Davis, but the front office isn’t clear on what New Orleans wants in a potential deal, Berman reports in a separate story. New York has a wealth of future assets to offer, including a high lottery pick in this year’s draft and rookie center Mitchell Robinson, a Louisiana native whom the Pelicans have “always liked,” a source tells Berman. New Orleans didn’t have a first-round pick last summer, and Robinson had already been taken before its first selection at No. 52. However, an NBA talent evaluator says the only things the Pelicans would be interested in from the Knicks are Kristaps Porzingis and draft picks.
  • A trade of Davis to the Lakers could help the Knicks solve their problems at point guard, Berman adds in the same piece. Lonzo Ball reportedly doesn’t want to play in New Orleans and could be available if New York gets involved to make it a three-team deal. Berman states that the Knicks “loved” Ball coming out of college and might see him as a long-term answer. It’s also possible that the Pelicans could keep Ball and look to unload Elfrid Payton, whom New York GM Scott Perry drafted in Orlando and tried to acquire at last year’s trade deadline.
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic wonders if the Knicks would be willing to surrender their first-round pick and rookie Kevin Knox to the Pelicans to make a deal work for Davis. He also speculates on other players who may be involved in a potential offer.