Houston Rockets

Lakers Notes: Myers, Williams, Brewer

The Lakers are finalizing a deal with longtime player agent Rob Pelinka to be the team’s new GM, but he wasn’t the organization’s first choice for the job. Current Warriors GM Bob Myers was the team’s top choice for the gig, but the Lakers didn’t have confidence that Myers would be willing to leave Golden State, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers had multiple offers which included first-round picks on the table for Lou Williams over the past few weeks, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Shelburne adds that the team was so confident that it could net a first-rounder, it offered that pick in DeMarcus Cousins negotiations.
  • President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said that he’s “already talked to five GM’s” and added that he’ll be the person handling trade inquiries going forward for the Lakers, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News relays (Twitter link).
  • Corey Brewer didn’t expect the Rockets to trade him this season, but he’s looking forward to a new opportunity with the Lakers, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 passes along (Twitter link). “Yeah, I was shocked. Brewer said. “I’m going to be a Laker. So I have to make the most of that opportunity. I can talk to the young guys and try to help them. Brandon Ingram is going to be a really good player. So hopefully, I can take him under my wing, help him develop and be one of the best.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/21/17

The NBA second half won’t get underway until Thursday, but with NBA and D-League teams returning from their respective All-Star breaks, assignments and recalls have gotten underway again. Here are Tuesday’s moves:

  • The Jazz have recalled Joel Bolomboy from the Salt Lake City Stars following his participation in the weekend’s D-League All-Star game, per a team release. The rookie forward averaged 15.8 PPG and 13.2 RPG in 18 first-half NBADL games.
  • Briante Weber has been recalled to the Warriors from Santa Cruz after playing in the D-League All-Star game, Golden State announced in a press release. Weber is still on his second 10-day contract with the Dubs, though the team could waive him at the trade deadline if it needs to open up that 15th roster spot.
  • One other D-League All-Star is back with his NBA team, as the Heat confirmed that they’ve recalled Okaro White. White has been with the Heat since mid-January, but his early-season play with the Sioux Falls Skyforce earned him a spot in the D-League All-Star Game.
  • The Nuggets have sent 2016 first-rounder Malik Beasley back to the D-League, the team announced in a press release. It’s the third assignment this season for Beasley, who will head to Sioux Falls and join Miami’s affiliate, since Denver doesn’t yet have a D-League team of its own.
  • The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet to the D-League, according to the team (Twitter link). Caboclo and VanVleet have gone back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all year, but it’s Siakam’s first assignment.
  • Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been re-assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets announced today (via Twitter).
  • The Trail Blazers have assigned rookie guard Tim Quarterman to the D-League, according to a press release from the team. Quarterman joined the Windy City Bulls in his previous two NBADL stints via the flexible assignment rule, but will head to the Long Island Nets this time around.

Rockets Finalizing Trade For Lou Williams

7:03 pm: According to David Aldridge of TNT, the first-round pick heading to the Lakers will not be protected. Per Bobby Marks of The Vertical, the pick involved is projected to be 27th overall and worth a cap hit of $1.4MM in 2017/18.

6:41 pm: The Rockets are finalizing a trade with the Lakers for guard Lou Williams, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. In exchange, Houston will send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Los Angeles. At this time, details about the first-round pick heading to the Lakers have not been made available (although 7:03 update from Marks suggests that it’s Houston’s 2017 first-round pick).

In 58 games for Los Angeles this season, Williams has averaged 18.6 points per game. He’ll join an already potent Houston offense that had been reported to be looking to fortify its bench. The 30-year-old guard is signed through the 2017/18 campaign at $7MM per season.

Brewer, a 30-year-old forward with a similar contract to Williams (he’s owed $15.2MM over two years), averaged 4.2 points per game with Houston but has carved out a role for himself as a savvy, defensive-minded veteran.

According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, James Harden had specifically wanted the Rockets to bring aboard the veteran and he’ll pair with prolific reserve Eric Gordon. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Williams and Gordon are the NBA’s top two scorers off the bench and both frontrunners to win this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

Should the first-round pick heading to Los Angeles be Houston’s first-round pick in 2017, it could slot in in the late 20s. Per our reverse standings, the Rockets are currently in line to draft 27th.

The move marks Magic Johnson‘s first transaction since taking on the role of President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers.

Hornets, Rockets, Pelicans In Mix For Lou Williams

The Lakers’ front office turnover hasn’t stopped teams around the league from inquiring on Lou Williams. Speaking to reporters today, new Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said that he has already spoken to 10 general managers, per Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register notes (Twitter links), Johnson confirmed that most of his calls have been about Williams, adding that it will take “a lot” to get him.

As we’ve heard in the last 24 hours, the Jazz are in the mix for Williams, and so are the Wizards. However, they have plenty of competition. Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter) that the Rockets and Pelicans have also expressed interest in trading for Williams. Chris Haynes of ESPN.com adds Charlotte to the list of Williams suitors as well, tweeting that the Hornets have “aggressively” pursued the veteran guard.

With a 24-32 record, the Hornets aren’t currently in playoff position, but the team remains on the lookout for pieces to improve their 2016/17 roster, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Deveney wrote earlier today Charlotte was one of many teams to inquire on Williams, suggesting that the Hornets have been looking for a scorer off the bench and depth at point guard.

A player like Williams would appeal to the Hornets and other clubs due to both his solid on-court production and his favorable contract. Despite only playing 24.2 minutes per game off the bench for the Lakers, Williams is averaging a career-high 18.6 PPG, and has established new career bests in three-pointers per game (2.1) and 3PT% (.386) so far. The 30-year-old is also earning just $7MM this season and remains under contract for $7MM in 2017/18.

According to both Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype and ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter links), teams around the NBA still expect Williams to be moved this week, despite the massive restructuring that took place in the Lakers’ front office.

Rockets Unlikely To Make Drastic Change, Will Pursue Minor Deal

  • The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the league and aren’t expected to make any drastic roster moves, but they may be involved in something else, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Feigen suggests that Houston’s three draft picks could be available, as well as players on modest contracts who aren’t a major part of Mike D’Antoni‘s core.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Southwest Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors is taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic, Northwest, Southeast, Pacific, and Central. Today, we’re examining the Southwest.

Buyers:

The Spurs (43-13) lead the way among the Southwest’s group of buyers, but R.C. Buford typically isn’t all that active around the deadline. Even though San Antonio has been a perennial title contender in recent years, the team’s only in-season trade since 2013 came three years ago, when the Spurs sent Nando De Colo to Toronto in exchange for Austin Daye. It wasn’t exactly a franchise-altering move. While it’s possible the Spurs do something small at this year’s deadline, there’s a strong chance they’ll simply stand pat.Terrence Jones vertical

The Rockets (40-18) have also expressed reluctance to make major changes and upset team chemistry, but Daryl Morey is always exploring potential upgrades, and has a long history of making deadline deals. Houston technically didn’t make a move at the deadline a year ago, trading for Josh Smith in January rather than February. But before 2016, Morey had made at least one deadline deal every year since taking over as the club’s GM in 2007. This year, the club has been linked to veterans like Wilson Chandler, and reportedly has some interest in adding a ball-handler.

It may be a quiet deadline for the Grizzlies (34-24), who had been on the lookout for a backup point guard and an athletic big man. Toney Douglas has been solid in the backcourt since rejoining the club, and Brandan Wright has been effective in the frontcourt since getting healthy, so those needs may not be quite as pressing now. Memphis has already traded away its 2017 and 2019 first-round picks, which doesn’t leave a lot of ammo for the club to go after a legitimate impact player this week.

Speaking of legitimate impact players, the Pelicans (23-34) already made their big move this week, swinging a deal with Sacramento for All-NBA center DeMarcus Cousins. That trade signaled that New Orleans is a strong buyer this month, despite being 11 games below .500, and the club may not be done yet. Having sent out three guards in the Cousins swap, the Pelicans are in the market for backcourt help, and have reportedly Terrence Jones available as they search for deals.

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Rockets Eyeing Wilson Chandler?

As Thursday’s trade deadline approaches, the Rockets are a team worth keeping an eye on in the pursuit of Wilson Chandler, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com (Twitter link) adds that he got a one-word answer when he asked someone with the Rockets if Chandler would be a fit: “Yes.”

The Rockets have the fourth-best record in the NBA at 40-18, and the team appears reluctant to shake things up much. General manager Daryl Morey and MVP candidate James Harden have both made comments in recent weeks about being happy with the team chemistry this season, so no blockbuster deal is around the corner for Houston.

Still, Chandler, who is a decent three-pointer shooter and can play either forward position, would be a solid addition to the Rockets’ rotation. This season, the 29-year-old is averaging 15.6 PPG and 6.7 RPG to go along with a .454/.338/.732 shooting line.

Despite his success this year with the Nuggets, Chandler reportedly wouldn’t mind being traded and has been linked to teams like the Thunder and Clippers. A USA Today report earlier this month suggested that Chandler hasn’t formally requested a trade, but has grown frustrated by what he views as an inconsistent role in Denver.

The veteran forward downplayed that report a day later, though he admitted that he’d appreciate more consistency. Since then, Chandler’s minutes haven’t fluctuated much — he has played between 34 and 41 minutes in five of six games, with the only exception being a blowout loss in San Antonio (26 minutes).

The Nuggets are expected to be active at the deadline, but there are a number of potential trade candidates on their roster, so it remains to be seen which direction the team will go in. Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Jameer Nelson, and Emmanuel Mudiay are among the other players whose names have surfaced in trade rumors.

No Drastic Moves Expected For Rockets

  • Before winning the 2017 Three-Point Contest, Rockets guard Eric Gordon spoke about his time in New Orleans, referring to the Pelicans franchise as “dysfunctional”. “My role changed a lot,” he told Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune. “If I would have had the same freedom that I had (in Houston), it would have been a different result. It’s always been a little dysfunctional, not just for me… everybody.”
  • Daryl Morey and the Rockets are content with their roster, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, and have no desire to make a drastic move at the deadline. They would, however, be open to adding to their bench.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/15/17

After a quiet Tuesday in terms of D-League moves, we have a few assignments and recalls to pass along for Wednesday. Here’s the latest:

10:15pm:

  • The Raptors have recalled Bruno Caboclo from Raptors 905, the team announced in a tweet. The third-year forward has played just eight NBA games this season.
  • The Grizzlies have recalled guard Wade Baldwin, center Deyonta Davis and forward Jarell Martin from their affiliate in Iowa.
  • The Heat are sending Okaro White to their Sioux Falls affiliate so he will be eligible for the D-League All-Star Game, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

1:31pm:

  • The Pelicans have recalled rookie forward Cheick Diallo from the D-League, the team announced today in a press release. Diallo had been playing for Charlotte’s D-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, since New Orleans doesn’t have an affiliate of its own. He averaged 17. 0 PPG and 11.3 RPG in six games with the Swarm.
  • Rookies Chinanu Onuaku and Kyle Wiltjer have been recalled from the D-League by the Rockets, according to the team (Twitter link). The duo helped lead the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a dramatic win on Tuesday, totaling 55 points and 16 rebounds between them.
  • The Pacers have recalled Rakeem Christmas from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team announced today in a press release. The D-League’s All-Star break is now underway, which is why Christmas and others are being recalled to their NBA teams today.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

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