Frank Kaminsky

Eastern Notes: Boylan, Hornets, Saric, Yabusele

Former Cavaliers assistant coach Jim Boylan has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against the franchise, which the team has labelled “frivolous” and a “shameless cash grab,” according to an Associated Press report. Boylan, 63, worked five seasons under former coaches David Blatt and Tyronn Lue but did not have his option picked up this summer. Boylan contends GM Koby Altman told him owner Dan Gilbert wanted a younger coach.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hornets have used a committee approach at the center spot and that position is likely to remain in flux, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Starter Cody Zeller, Willy Hernangomez, Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky and Bismack Biyombo have all taken turns in the middle but first-year coach James Borrego isn’t worried. “We’re still searching (but) I like the dilemma I have,” he told Bonnell.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is allowing forward Dario Saric to work through his shooting slump, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Saric has scored in single digits in each of the last three games while shooting 2-for-13 from long range. Brown has no plans to reduce Saric’s workload. “If he came to me and said, ‘I need some time,’ I would listen,” Brown said. “But I don’t feel like I’m force-feeding anything, I do not feel like I’m hurting him. In fact, I feel like I’m helping him.”
  • Guerschon Yabusele’s option was picked up for next season because his game fits the modern NBA, according to coach Brad Stevens, and the Celtics believe the 22-year-old has high upside, the team’s PR department tweets. Boston’s brass decided to retain Yabusele despite a cap hit of $3,117,240, a figure that could grow if Boston pays the luxury tax. The 6’8” Yabusele has played just 18 minutes this season after seeing action in 33 games in his rookie campaign. But with several players hitting the free agent market next summer, the Celtics felt Yabusele was too valuable to give up, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald notes. “Having Guerschon gives us continuity. He knows our system,” GM Danny Ainge said. “He’s loved by everybody. It’s just not easy to find that type of player.”

Southeast Notes: Dedmon, Anderson, Wade, Pope, Hornets

Center Dewayne Dedmon and swingman Justin Anderson will not be cleared for Hawks training camp, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution tweets. Dedmon suffered an avulsion fracture in his left ankle earlier this month and shed his walking boot last week. Dedmon, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, will be reevaluated next week, Vivlamore continues.  Anderson had surgery June 29th on his left leg due to recurring tibial stress syndrome. Anderson, who was acquired from the Sixers in a three-team deal in July, will be re-evaluated in two weeks, Vivlamore adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

Southeast Notes: Spoelstra, Kidd-Gilchrist, Wall

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will have a difficult time coming up with a rotation after team president Pat Riley failed to address the logjam at several positions, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes. With Hassan WhitesideKelly OlynykBam Adebayo and James Johnson on the roster, there aren’t enough frontcourt minutes to go around and keep everyone happy, Winderman continues. There’s also an excess of shooting guards options (Rodney McGruderDion WaitersTyler JohnsonWayne Ellington and Josh Richardson) even if Dwyane Wade isn’t re-signed, Winderman adds.

We have more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are thinking seriously about going with smaller lineups more often, featuring Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at power forward and Frank Kaminsky at center, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. Charlotte has plenty of rotation-worthy options at small forward and shooting guard to allow those position changes to take place, Bonnell continues. If Kidd-Gilchrist logs significant playing time at power forward, Kaminsky could join an unsettled rotation at center and his perimeter defensive shortcomings wouldn’t be as much of an issue, Bonnell adds.
  • This is a pivotal season for Wizards point guard John Wall, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington points out. Following the upcoming season, Wall’s four-year, $170MM-plus extension kicks in and it’s time for him to show he can lead a major contender, Hughes continues. He must improve his field-goal efficiency and mesh well with incoming center Dwight Howard, Hughes adds.
  • Heat summer-league star Derrick Jones will struggle to find playing time, Winderman wrote in another mailbag piece. Get that info, plus other Miami notes, right here.

Hornets Notes: Lamb, Kaminsky, Parker, Batum

Jeremy Lamb might be the Hornets’ starter at shooting guard, but he could also be entering his final season with the team, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer in his latest mailbag column. Lamb started 18 times in his 80 games last season and posted the best numbers of his six-year NBA career, averaging 12.9 points per game and shooting 37% from 3-point range.

Bonnell expects new coach James Borrego to use Nicolas Batum at small forward more often, opening a spot in the backcourt that will be filled either by Lamb or Malik Monk. Lamb improved his defense last year and provides more size than Monk, so he’s considered the favorite to win the starting job heading into camp.

Lamb is entering the final year of a contract extension he signed in 2015 and will be seeking a raise from his salary of just under $7.5MM. Charlotte will have a tight cap situation heading into the summer with Kemba Walker also as a free agent. With Batum, Monk and Dwayne Bacon as alternatives as shooting guard, the team may decide not to spend big on Lamb.

Bonnell offers more news on the Hornets in the same piece:

  • Expect Frank Kaminsky to see more minutes at center in the preseason, and that could wind up being his primary position in the future. Kaminsky has been used mainly as a power forward during his first three seasons in the league, but the Hornets may want a better outside shooter in the middle after trading away Dwight Howard. Charlotte’s front office will have to decide soon whether to extend a qualifying offer of roughly $5MM to Kaminsky to make him a restricted free agent next summer.
  • The Hornets plan to use free agent addition Tony Parker as Walker’s primary backup this season. The longtime Spur will play about 15 to 17 minutes a night and could be used in combination with Walker to close out games. Rookie Devonte’ Graham looked good in Summer League, but Bonnell doesn’t expect him to be given a large role this season.
  • Offseason changes may put Batum in position for a bounceback year. The addition of Parker, Batum’s close friend and teammate from the French national squad, should help, as should improved health after Batum missed the entire preseason last year with an elbow injury. Bonnell notes that Batum was an awkward fit with Howard, who liked to dominate the ball in the post and often slowed down the offense.

Southeast Notes: Riley, Howard, Kaminsky, Lamb

Heat president Pat Riley understands some fans are disappointed that he didn’t add any big names this offseason, but he’s asking them to be patient as he works to rebuild the team, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami won’t have the cap space to pursue big-name free agents until the summer of 2020. Riley is trying to lay the groundwork for that opportunity while keeping a competitive group on the court.

“If any fan out there is unhappy or angry we didn’t go out and get LeBron James or Kevin Durant or [DeMarcus] Cousins or whatever else they felt that they would want us to get probably didn’t realize we couldn’t get them anyhow, that we couldn’t trade for them,” Riley said. “There are things I read [where] people are so uninformed about the rules and what we can and cannot do until one of you [reporters] – and most of the time you do that – [say] we couldn’t make that move.”

Riley also confirmed that he has refused to surrender first-round picks in deals to get rid of unwanted contracts.

There’s more tonight from the Southeast Division:

  • John Wall showed off his recruiting skills by convincing Dwight Howard to come to the Wizards, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Howard wasn’t considering the Wizards as he was negotiating a buyout from the Nets, but an appeal from Wall changed that. “No lie, when I saw the message on Instagram, I really got so happy,” Howard said at his introductory press conference this week. “I was like ‘John just DM’d me, oh man this is crazy!’ After that, I really just started to put on my thinking cap. I just thought about all the possibilities. I was like ‘Man, this could be the best spot for me.'”
  • Former Hornets lottery pick Frank Kaminsky is entering a vital season for his financial future, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer in a mailbag column. Kaminsky will be a restricted free agent next summer if he can’t work out an extension with Charlotte before the start of the upcoming season. The Hornets gave deals to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller before they could test the free agent waters, but Bonnell isn’t convinced that Kaminsky has the same value.
  • If the Hornets are looking to unload players at next year’s trade deadline, Jeremy Lamb will be a prime candidate to go, Bonnell writes in the same piece. Lamb has an expiring contract and Charlotte has a lot of wing players on its roster.

Hornets Notes: Porter, Walker, Kaminsky, Howard

Michael Porter Jr. could be a risk worth taking for the Hornets if he lasts to the 11th pick, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Porter was among the top recruits in college basketball last year, but a back injury sidelined him for almost the entire season. He underwent surgery to remove a piece of bone that was placing pressure on a nerve and has declared himself to be healthy.

Porter has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant, standing 6’10” with the skills of a small forward. If enough teams are scared off by his medical history, Porter could present new GM Mitch Kupchak with his first major draft decision since coming to Charlotte.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets might be willing to ship Kemba Walker to Cleveland in a deal involving the No. 8 pick, but LeBron James‘ uncertain status makes the trade problematic, Bonnell notes in the same story. Dealing Walker, who has one year left on his contract, for a draft choice would help ease Charlotte’s cap situation, but the Cavaliers won’t know until July if James is leaving. The eighth pick becomes extremely valuable if Cleveland is facing a rebuilding project.
  • Frank Kaminsky hasn’t done enough in three seasons to convince the Hornets he’s worthy of a long-term investment, Bonnell adds. The ninth pick in the 2015 draft has averaged 10.0 points per game since joining the team, and there are concerns about his rebounding and passing. Bonnell believes Charlotte wouldn’t hesitate to draft another power forward.
  • Dwight Howard could be a buyout candidate if he’s still on the roster in February, Bonnell writes in a mailbag column. The veteran center will make more than $23.8MM in the final year of his contract.
  • In the same piece, Bonnell puts the odds at 50-50 for free agents Michael Carter-Williams and Treveon Graham to return to the Hornets next season. An abundance of guaranteed contracts for wing players will limit Graham’s opportunity, while Carter-Williams is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he shot a career-low 33% from the field.

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Gasol, Bazemore, Hornets

The NBA trade deadline is just over seven weeks away, so it’s only a matter of time before teams start discussing potential deals a little more earnestly. In anticipation of trade talks heating up, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders takes a closer look at a handful of players whose names figure to come up frequently in trade rumors in the coming weeks, passing along the latest nuggets of info on each of those guys. Here are a few highlights from Kyler’s piece:

  • Source close to the situation tell Kyler that a Cavaliers offer for DeAndre Jordan would be built around Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and a first-round pick, though Cleveland is only willing to discuss its own pick at this point, rather than the Nets’ first-rounder. It remains to be seen whether the Clippers will be willing to move Jordan, but the big man’s future in L.A. is “anything but clear,” writes Kyler.
  • More and more people around the NBA believe that the Grizzlies would be willing to explore the market for Marc Gasol, but it may require Gasol telling them he wants out, per Kyler.
  • League sources tell Kyler that the Hawks might be open to moving Kent Bazemore for the right combination of expiring contracts and a first-round pick. Even if that pick is “highly protected,” as Kyler suggests, I’d be very surprised if any team is willing to pay that price for Bazemore, who is owed $18MM+ in 2018/19 and $19MM+ in 2019/20.
  • The prevailing belief around the league is that the Hornets would like to move one of their big contracts, such as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s. However, Charlotte would likely need to attach a young player to a deal in order to dump salary. Kyler suggests Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon likely aren’t going anywhere, identifying Frank Kaminsky as a possible name to watch.
  • The Magic and Kings are also worth keeping an eye on, according to Kyler, who identifies Nikola Vucevic and George Hill as a pair of potential trade candidates. Orlando isn’t looking to shake things up for the sake of it, but Vucevic figures to draw interest. As for Hill, his significant cap hit limits his trade value, but he’d probably “welcome a move,” says Kyler.

Cody Zeller To Undergo Surgery, Miss Six Weeks

Hornets center Cody Zeller will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets, citing league sources. Zeller is expected to miss six weeks, Wojnarowski adds.

Zeller injured the knee last week against the Warriors. Zeller was relegated a second-unit role this season with the addition of Dwight Howard but had been productive, averaging 7.2 PPG and 5.5 RPG. In his absence, Frank Kaminsky and Johnny O’Bryant will likely share minutes behind Howard. Kaminsky has missed two games with an ankle sprain but is expected to play Monday.

Zeller, 25, has long-term security but it remains to be seen whether the knee injury will have a lingering effect. He’s making $12.6MM this season and his contract runs through the 2020/21 season.

If the Hornets want to add a big man, they could sign a free agent to a pro-rated, non-guaranteed minimum deal and remain below the luxury tax line, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. The Hornets have a roster spot open and are $1.8MM below the tax line, Marks notes.

Hornets Exercise Option On Frank Kaminsky

The Hornets have exercised the fourth-year option on Frank Kaminsky‘s rookie contract, the team announced in a press release. The 24-year-old big man will remain with the squad through the 2018/19 campaign.

Over the course of his first two seasons with the franchise, Kaminsky has established himself as a solid inside-out threat and important component of the team’s second unit.

In 75 games with the squad last year, Kaminsky averaged 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, adding 1.6 made threes per contest to boot. Those figures are likely to rise in 2017/18, his scoring average north of 14 over the course of the first five games of his third season.

Kaminsky, the ninth-overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft will earn $3.6MM next year.

Southeast Notes: Simmons, Bledsoe, Kaminsky, Morris

Jonathon Simmons played his first game against the Spurs since he signed a three-year deal in free agency to join the Magic. Simmons had a productive night, posting 17 points in Orlando’s 114-87 blowout win over San Antonio. Despite the loss, Simmons’ former teammates are happy for him, Tim Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News writes.

LaMarcus Aldridge called Simmons “a good guy” and said his former teammate is “comfortable” in his new role. Magic coach Frank Vogel spoke glowingly of Simmons the impact he has on the court.

“When we put the ball in his hands, typically he makes good things happen,” Vogel said. “He’s a good decision maker, a threat going to the basket. He really attacks the rim and will get finish and get to the free-throw line. But he does a good job making the pass, too. So I have a lot of trust in him. He’s earned it.”

Check out other news tidbits around the Southeast Division below: