Houston Rockets

Andrew Bogut, Jose Calderon Finalize Buyouts

Andrew Bogut and Jose Calderon have completed their buyouts, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links). Per Marc Stein of ESPN, neither player can sign with a team until clearing waivers Wednesday. While Bogut is likely to join the Cavs, he will hold talks with the Spurs, Rockets, and Celtics before reaching a decision (Twitter links).

Both the Lakers and Sixers have announced the transactions via press release. Now presumed to join the Warriors, Calderon and his agent released a statement commending the Lakers’ accommodation.

“I’m very appreciative of the Lakers doing this,” Mark Bartelstein told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. “This is something we had gone to them and talked about since Jose wasn’t playing much…I’m very appreciative of Magic [Johnson] doing this. Jose’s got a lot of basketball left in him and can play at a high level. But with the Lakers being in a rebuilding state, it didn’t make sense from a playing perspective.”

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com discussed obstacles in Bogut’s path to Cleveland, noting Houston’s interest in the Australian big man. Following their signing of Isaiah Taylor, the Rockets should have more than $3MM of cap space to offer Bogut.

Rockets To Sign Isaiah Taylor

The Rockets are signing D-League guard Isaiah Taylor to their NBA roster, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. According to Watkins, Taylor will receive a three-year, non-guaranteed contract, and figures to remain assigned to Houston’s D-League affiliate for now.

Taylor, who went undrafted out of Texas last summer, signed a partially guaranteed contract with the Rockets and was with the club for training camp and the preseason. However, he didn’t earn a spot on the club’s regular-season roster, and joined the Rio Grande Valley Vipers as an affiliate player.

In 12 games for the Vipers, Taylor has averaged 21.1 PPG and 6.1 APG, showing an ability to get the free throw line (7.3 attempts per game) and to make outside shots (41.3% on threes).

Having traded away K.J. McDaniels and Tyler Ennis at the trade deadline, the Rockets had two open roster spots available — the team acquired Marcelo Huertas from the Lakers for Ennis, but waived Huertas shortly after trading for him. Taylor will fill one of those two roster openings as a developmental player, while the club figures to focus on adding a veteran with its other open spot.

According to Watkins (via Twitter), the Rockets don’t have serious interest in Andrew Bogut, who is expected to join the Cavaliers if he’s bought out by Philadelphia. Houston is looking to add a wing or another big man, says Watkins.

Williams Deal Shows Rockets Serious About Contending

The pressure is rising in New Orleans after losses in DeMarcus Cousins‘ first two games with the Pelicans, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Many observers anointed New Orleans as the favorite to grab the West’s eighth playoff spot after Monday’s trade, but the Pelicans were embarrassed Thursday at home by the Rockets, then faded late in Saturday’s loss at Dallas. They are now 3 1/2 games behind the Nuggets for the eighth spot with 23 games remaining. Cousins had a spectacular game in his debut with 27 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five steals and four blocks, but scored 12 points on just nine shots last night.

Five Teams Have Contacted Andrew Bogut

The Cavaliers, Spurs, Rockets, Celtics and Jazz have talked to representatives for center Andrew Bogut over the past 24 hours, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The 32-year-center has reportedly been negotiating a buyout with the Sixers ever since Thursday’s trade that sent him from Dallas to Philadelphia. Bogut must be waived before Wednesday’s deadline to be eligible for the post-season with another team.

Bogut hasn’t reported to the Sixers, but Charania relays that he spoke to coach Brett Brown over the phone. Bogut said he has respect for Brown and the culture of the team, but he wants to help a championship contender.

Of the five teams in Charania’s report, Utah has a massive financial advantage with $13.64MM in available cap space. That’s enough for the Jazz to claim Bogut’s entire $11MM contract once he hits waivers. Houston made two deals this week to clear cap room and has about $3.54MM open. Boston is $1.1MM under the cap, while Cleveland and San Antonio are both over.

The NBA ruled on Thursday that Bogut could rejoin the Warriors, even though they traded him in July, but so far there hasn’t been any indication that Golden State is interested in a reunion.

NBA Teams Below Salary Cap For 2016/17

At this point in the season, most teams aren’t going to do much with any leftover cap room. Teams are no longer able to make trades, and most free agents still on the market won’t demand more than the minimum.

Still, there’s reason to consider which teams remain below the cap after this week’s trade activity. With useful veteran players potentially hitting the free agent market as a result of contract buyouts, a team with some extra cap room might have a leg up on teams without any spending flexibility.

For instance, if the Rockets and Warriors were to pursue the same free agent – perhaps Andrew Bogut, if he’s bought out by the Sixers – Houston could offer a deal worth up to about $3.5MM with cap room, while Golden State would be limited to offering a prorated minimum salary worth closer to $400K. That’s a significant difference.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on teams that remain below the minimum salary floor, since those clubs could enter the bidding for a bought-out player or could claim a player off waivers. The Jazz, for instance, probably don’t need a big man like Bogut, but if they wanted him and he became available, Utah has enough cap room to claim his entire $11MM+ contract. That would keep him off the open market and allow the Jazz to surpass the salary floor.

Using our Salary Cap Snapshots, let’s take a closer look at the teams below the cap, starting with teams still below the salary floor:

Teams below the salary floor:

  1. Utah Jazz: $13.64MM below cap ($4.23MM below floor)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.66MM below cap ($3.24MM below floor)
  3. Denver Nuggets: $11.56MM below cap ($2.15MM below floor)
  4. Brooklyn Nets: $10.21MM below cap ($793K below floor)

Less than a month ago, there were six teams below the salary floor. Since then, the Nets and Nuggets have taken major steps toward the floor, while the Suns and Sixers have gotten above it entirely. That leaves the Jazz and Timberwolves as the clubs furthest below the salary floor.

As we’ve noted in the past, there’s no real penalty if a team remains below the floor — the team simply has to make up the difference by paying their current players a little more money. However, the Jazz and Wolves figure to be mulling other opportunities to reach the floor. That could mean placing a waiver claim or – in Utah’s case – renegotiating a contract.

We haven’t heard any rumors lately about the Jazz discussing a new deal with an extension-eligible veteran like George Hill or Derrick Favors, so that seems like a long shot. But the team does have until the end of February to renegotiate and extend either player’s contract, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Teams below the cap, but above the floor:

  1. Phoenix Suns: $9.226MM below cap
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: $8.62MM below cap
  3. Indiana Pacers: $4.14MM below cap
  4. Boston Celtics: $1.11MM below cap

Although the Suns and Sixers have inched above the salary floor, they’re not necessarily out of the woods quite yet. Phoenix needs the contracts of Jared Sullinger and Mike Scott to pass through waivers unclaimed, while the Sixers will require the same for Bogut if they eventually cut him. If any of those deals are claimed, they’ll move to another team’s cap, pushing Phoenix or Philadelphia back below the floor.

Teams that could clear cap room by renouncing exceptions:

  1. Houston Rockets: $3.54MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $3.33MM)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: $3.05MM below cap if lone TPE ($4.94MM) is renounced
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.75MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $5MM)
  4. Chicago Bulls: $1.59MM below cap if lone TPE ($5.46MM) is renounced

These teams are technically over the cap, but could go under if they chose to renounce their trade exceptions. In some cases, that might not make much sense. For instance, the Bucks and Bulls would have less than $2MM in cap room if they renounced their exceptions. Both teams have trade exceptions worth at least $5MM, so it probably makes sense to stay over the cap for now and see if those exceptions come in handy around the draft.

On the other hand, the amount of cap room the Rockets would have if they renounced their trade exceptions would be greater than the amount of their largest TPE, so it makes sense for Houston to dip below the cap, expunging those TPEs from their books. That would also allow the Rockets to use cap room to sign a free agent, something they couldn’t do using a trade exception.

The rest of the NBA’s 18 teams don’t currently have cap room. That includes the Lakers, whose moves this week took them over the cap by just $316K.

Nets Sent $75K To Rockets In K.J. McDaniels Deal

Post-Deadline Housekeeping: New TPEs, Open Roster Spots

There were no superstars on the move on Thursday, but NBA teams made eight trades, and there were many more signings and cuts completed once the deadline passed. In the wake of the deadline, we’ll take a look at a few roster- and cap-related notes, rounding up the new traded player exceptions that teams created on Thursday, as well as examining which teams still have space available on their rosters.

Let’s dive in…

New trade exceptions:

Several over-the-cap teams acquired new trade exceptions on Thursday. They’ll all expire on February 23, 2018, a year after they were created, or until they’re used or renounced by the teams below. If a club wants to use cap room, it must renounce its trade exceptions, but until then, these TPEs can be used in the summer or next season to acquire players.

Here’s the breakdown, in order of TPE value:

  • Dallas Mavericks: $6,642,537
  • Chicago Bulls: $5,462,000
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $5,000,000
  • Atlanta Hawks: $3,333,334
  • Houston Rockets: $3,333,333
  • Dallas Mavericks: $1,514,160
  • Houston Rockets: $612,172
  • Toronto Raptors: $328,000
  • Houston Rockets: $233,880

Some notes related to these TPEs:

  • Multiple teams on this list, including the Rockets and Bucks, could open up cap room by renouncing their trade exceptions. In Houston’s case, this is particularly notable, since the club would create more than $3.5MM in cap space by renouncing these TPEs. That cap room could come in handy very soon if the Rockets are trying to entice a free agent to sign with them instead of another contender that can only offer the minimum.
  • As is always the case with TPEs, some of these exceptions will be more useful than others. The Mavericks could end up doing something interesting with their $6.6MM+ TPE, but the Raptors will almost certainly never use theirs for $328K.
  • The Thunder also came out of Thursday’s action with a new TPE — sort of. Oklahoma City had created a trade exception worth $7.4MM on November 1 when the team sent Ersan Ilyasova to Philadelphia. The Thunder used a portion of that exception at the deadline to absorb Doug McDermott‘s salary, leaving approximately $4.94MM left on it. OKC will have until November 1 to use the rest of that TPE.
  • For the complete list of trade exceptions across the NBA, click here.

Teams with open roster spots:

A day after the trade deadline, the list of teams with open roster spots is incredibly fluid. Some teams that acquired players in trades don’t have any use for those players, and will waive them. Other clubs will fill roster holes with D-League call-ups, while other teams will be a little more patient and wait out the buyout market.

All of this is to say that this list is up to date at the time of publication, but could change quickly as teams make more moves this weekend. Here are the teams that currently have at least one open spot on their 15-man roster, with their player count noted in parentheses:

  • Charlotte Hornets (13): The 10-day contracts for Ray McCallum and Mike Tobey expired overnight, so Charlotte has two open spots. The team reportedly plans to use one on Johnny O’Bryant.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (14): The Cavs have 13 guaranteed contracts, plus Derrick Williams‘ 10-day deal. The team expects to sign Deron Williams as well, so if any other roster additions are coming after that, Cleveland would need to clear a roster spot.
  • Dallas Mavericks (13): The Mavs have two openings after completing a two-for-one trade with the Sixers, then waiving Deron Williams.
  • Houston Rockets (14): The Rockets opened up a roster spot by trading K.J. McDaniels, and may waive Marcelo Huertas as well. Houston is expected to be active on the buyout market.
  • Milwaukee Bucks (14): The Bucks created a roster opening by sending Roy Hibbert to Denver, and they’re expected to fill it by signing Axel Toupane to a 10-day contract.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (14): Unlike most of the teams on this list, the Wolves have carried an open roster spot for a while, and that didn’t change at the deadline.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (14): The Thunder traded three players to Chicago and received just two in return, creating an opening. They have their eye on free agents and buyout candidates.
  • Orlando Magic (14): Like Minnesota, the Magic were carrying an open roster spot prior to the deadline and didn’t make a move on Thursday.

The Suns will join this list as soon as they officially waive Mike Scott and Jared Sullinger, as is expected. They’ll fill one of those two newly-open spots with Ronnie Price. There are also three teams that have full 15-man rosters with at least one player on a 10-day contract. The Hawks, Warriors, and Pelicans fall into this category, with Briante Weber‘s second 10-day deal in Golden State set to expire soon.

For a full breakdown of NBA roster counts, check out our list.

NBA Rules That Warriors Can Sign Andrew Bogut

Today’s trade that sent Andrew Bogut from Dallas to Philadelphia will make him eligible to return to the Warriors right away, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Normally, a player who is traded cannot rejoin his original team for a full year. Golden State shipped Bogut to Dallas on July 7th as a way to clear cap space to sign Kevin Durant. However, the NBA determined that the provisions of its reacquisition rule shifted from the Warriors to the Mavericks when they became the last team to trade him (Twitter link).

The ruling doesn’t mean that Bogut is a lock to go back to the Warriors. First, he must agree to a buyout with the Sixers, which seems likely. Then he must clear waivers, which is also probable as few teams have the cap space to absorb his hefty salary.

Once Bogut hits the open market, the Warriors will have to compete with other suitors. The Rockets, who have $3.54MM in cap space available, will make an effort to sign him, as will the Cavaliers and Spurs. Golden State is well over the cap, but Bogut might be tempted to accept a lesser offer to rejoin the franchise where he won an NBA title and set a league record for victories in a season.

Rockets Trade Tyler Ennis To Lakers

6:40pm: The Lakers also received the draft rights to Brad Newley in the deal, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Drafted in 2007, the 32-year-old swingman plays for AEK Athens in Greece.

6:28pm: The deal is official, the Lakers announced (Twitter link). Meanwhile, the Rockets have waived Huertas.

1:58pm: The Rockets have agreed to a deal that will send Tyler Ennis to the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Wojnarowski reports that Houston will receive Marcelo Huertas from Los Angeles, but that the Rockets will waive Huertas after acquiring him.

Ennis is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, while Huertas had a non-guaranteed salary for 2017/18, so both players were essentially on expiring contracts. The Rockets were likely planning on waiving Ennis after the deadline, so by acquiring and waiving Huertas instead, they’ll create a tiny bit of extra cap room as they peruse the buyout market. Ennis is earning approximately $233K more than Huertas this season.

From the Lakers’ perspective, Huertas had seen his playing time reduced significantly this season, having averaged 10.3 MPG in just 23 contests. He apparently wasn’t part of the team’s long-term plans, so L.A. decided to take a flier on Ennis, who could be re-signed at a modest price in the offseason if the team likes what it sees down the stretch.

Nets Acquire K.J. McDaniels

6:33pm: The Rockets will receive cash considerations, not a draft pick, from the Nets in exchange for McDaniels, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. The deal is now official.

3:57pm: The Nets will send a future draft choice – presumably a protected second-round pick – to the Rockets as part of the deal, according to a report from The Associated Press.

1:32pm: The Rockets have traded K.J. McDaniels to the Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links). The deal will save the Rockets roughly $3.3MM, which the team plans on using once the buyout market establishes itself.

Teams cannot take on a player/draft picks from another team without receiving some sort of compensation in return, per NBA rules. It’s likely that Houston will receive either a heavily protected second-round pick or the rights to a player currently playing abroad in the trade.

Brooklyn was about $13.5 under the salary cap after the Andrew Nicholson trade and it had an open roster spot after waiving Marcus Thornton on Wednesday. With McDaniels aboard, the Nets have 15 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates.

McDaniels shined during his rookie season with the Sixers, but he hasn’t gotten consistent playing time since Philly traded him to Houston at the 2015 trade deadline. The Clemson University product saw 1352 minutes of action during his first half season in the league with the Sixers, but he only received a total of 447 minutes in the two years since.

 

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