Iman Shumpert

Latest On Andre Iguodala

The Rockets and Clippers continue to be the two teams most seriously pursuing Grizzlies swingman Andre Iguodala, Shams Charania of Stadium reports (video link). However both Houston and Los Angeles “seem to be at a standstill” in talks with Memphis, per Charania.

According to Charania, the Rockets aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of going deep into luxury-tax territory for Iguodala. While Charania doesn’t specify what exactly Houston’s package would look like, he refers to “a potential sign-and-trade” — that would likely involve Iman Shumpert attached to a draft pick, as I wrote last Friday.

Currently, Houston’s team salary is below the tax line, but taking on Iguodala’s $17MM+ salary without sending out any guaranteed money could bump the Rockets’ projected tax bill up to about $20MM, says Charania.

As for the Clippers, Maurice Harkless‘ expiring contract is the most logical salary-matching trade chip for L.A. in any deal involving Iguodala. However, Charania hears that the Clips don’t want to part with Harkless in an Iguodala trade.

Both the Rockets and Clippers have explored three- or four-team scenarios that might work for Iguodala, per Charania, but that’s probably a long shot. Meanwhile, the Mavericks and Nuggets have also engaged with the Grizzlies on Iguodala, but neither team has really gained any real traction in trade discussions.

Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) previously suggested there’s a belief in league circles that the Grizzlies may be leaning toward keeping Iggy on their roster into the season unless they receive a trade offer that includes a first-round pick. We’ll see if that ends up being the case if no potential suitors meet their asking price.

Iguodala Drawing Interest From At Least Five Teams

1:53pm: In addition to the Rockets, Clippers, and Mavericks, the Nuggets and Lakers also have interest in Iguodala, tweets Stein.

Stein first mentioned Denver’s interest in Iguodala in his newsletter last week, though Amick tweets that the Nuggets view Memphis’ asking price as too high. If they do make a play for Iggy, Mason Plumlee‘s expiring $14MM contract would be their best salary-matching piece.

As for the Lakers, they have no clear path to matching Iguodala’s salary until after December 15, so they’re an unlikely suitor unless he’s bought out.

11:32am: After acquiring Russell Westbrook from Oklahoma City, the Rockets‘ top priority will be to find a way to land veteran forward Andre Iguodala, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

According to Amick, Houston continues to push to acquire Iguodala from the Grizzlies via trade. The Clippers are also known to be among the most serious suitors for the former Warrior, Amick adds.

In order to match Iguodala’s $17,185,185 salary, the Rockets or Clippers would have to send out at least $12,185,185 in salary of their own, which will be difficult, but not impossible.

Los Angeles could use Maurice Harkless‘ $11,511,234 expiring contract, but would have to include at least one more piece — likely either Jerome Robinson or one of their 2019 draftees. Those two 2019 draft picks (Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann) can’t be dealt until at least August 9 after signing on Tuesday.

The Rockets, meanwhile, probably wouldn’t want to move Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, or Eric Gordon for Iguodala, so a sign-and-trade involving Iman Shumpert could be their most viable path for matching salaries. Shumpert would have to sign a three-year contract in that scenario, but only the first year would need to be fully guaranteed. He could sign for exactly $12,185,185, and presumably he’d be open to the idea, since he won’t receive that kind of money from any other team as a free agent.

Although Amick doesn’t name any other suitors for Iguodala, Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com suggests that the Mavericks are interested in the former Finals MVP too, and are willing to offer Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract and a second-round pick. Lee has a $12,759,670 cap hit, so no additional players would need to be added to such an offer for matching purposes. However, the Grizzlies don’t appear to have interest in taking on Lee, according to Fisher.

The Grizzlies acquired Iguodala as a salary dump, receiving a future first-round pick and cash from the Warriors for their troubles, so if they’re able to flip him and acquire positive assets, they’ll be coming out ahead.

Still, Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) says there’s a belief in league circles that Memphis may be leaning toward keeping Iggy on their roster into the season unless they receive a trade offer that includes a first-round pick.

Rockets Reportedly Willing To Pay Luxury Tax

After making a series of transactions to get below the tax threshold this season, the Rockets are willing to accept the tax next year to upgrade their roster, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

GM Daryl Morey has already received permission from ownership to make moves that will push the team into tax territory, a source tells Feigen. Morey will try to tweak the roster to better compete with the Warriors, who have eliminated the Rockets from the playoffs in four of the past five seasons.

Houston has all five of its starters under contract for next year at a total cost of about $114MM, which is already over the salary cap. Morey will have to rebuild a reserve unit that features unrestricted free agents Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert and restricted free agent Danuel House.

Barring a bold trade to shake up the roster, Morey’s main weapon will be a mid-level exception that could be worth $9MM but is more likely to be limited to $5.7MM. That money might be needed to re-sign one or more of the team’s free agents, or Morey could also try to find a bargain on the free agent market.

No matter how he proceeds, Morey has a huge challenge ahead of him. The Rockets need to find a dependable small forward to allow Eric Gordon to spend more time in the backcourt, Feigen notes. They also need one more reliable shooter and a power forward who can hit 3-pointers and rebound so they don’t get beaten on the boards so badly when using small lineups.

Rockets Notes: Paul, Free Agents, Capela, Rosas

There are a lot of concerns in Houston after another season ended with a playoff loss to the Warriors, but the decline of Chris Paul may be the most serious issue, writes Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Paul missed at least 20 games for the third straight season, playing in 58, and his production declined in several important areas.

The nine-time All-Star posted career lows in scoring (15.6 PPG), shooting (41.9% from the field), free throw frequency (3.5 per game) and PER (19.7). He had difficulty finding his shot in the playoffs, making just one of his first 10 3-point attempts and shooting 27% from long distance.

Now 34, Paul just completed the first season of a four-year extension he signed last summer. He will make $38.5MM next season, $41.3MM in 2020/21 and has a $44.2MM option for 2021/22. Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela will consume 85% of the Rockets‘ cap space next season, Deveney notes, and are all under contract through the summer of 2022.

There’s more tonight from Houston:

  • Midseason acquisitions Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert may all be headed elsewhere this summer, Deveney adds. All three will be unrestricted free agents, and the Rockets won’t have much to offer beyond their mid-level exception. Deveney sees Gerald Green, who played for the veteran’s minimum this year, as likely to return.
  • Capela’s contract could be a major issue if he can’t overcome the confidence problem that seems to plague him against the Warriors, states Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Capela is owed up to approximately $72.2MM over the next four years, and although he played well during the season, he has become a matchup problem against Golden State. “He’ll learn from this, he’ll only get better,” coach Mike D’Antoni said after the Game 6 loss. “He’s only 25, he’ll get stronger. The expectations are high for him. I think he was a little below his normal stats. Could’ve been better, but I’ll go down with guys like that.”
  • The Rockets are making some front office changes after losing executive VP Gersson Rosas to the Timberwolves, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Assistant GM Jimmy Paulis has taken Rosas’ duties of coordinating the team’s scouts, and GM Daryl Morey is looking to hire someone to fill the vacancy.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Western Conference

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. With the playoffs in full swing, we turn our attention to the Western Conference:

Trey Lyles, Nuggets, 23, PF (Down) — Signed to a four-year, $10.4MM deal in 2015
Following an uninspiring regular season, Lyles has been a forgotten man in the postseason. He’s only made three cameos as coach Michael Malone has gone with a nine-man rotation with Mason Plumlee serving as the primary big man off the bench. Denver can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $4,485,665 qualifying offer, though his cap hold is $10.1MM. With hopes that Michael Porter Jr. can play next season, it’s no sure thing that Lyles will get that offer. Whether the team picks up Paul Millsap‘s $30MM option – or brings him back at a reduced rate – will also impact Lyles’ future in Denver.

Rodney Hood, Trail Blazers, 26, SG (Up) — Signed to a one-year, $3.47MM deal in 2018
No free agent has boosted his stock in the conference semifinals more than Hood, who is a big reason why Portland’s still alive. He poured in 25 points in Game 6 against Denver and has scored at least 14 points in five of the six games in the series. He drained crucial shots in the fourth overtime of the Blazers’ epic 140-137 victory in Game 3. This is same guy who averaged 3.2 PPG in the first-round series against Oklahoma City. Whether he receives offers as a starter or sixth man, Hood will get paid handsomely this summer.

Iman Shumpert, Rockets, 28, SG (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Shumpert is making $11MM this season. No one is going to pay him that much on the open market anymore, but after battling injuries the past two seasons, he has once again become a valuable role player. While he barely got off the bench in the first-round series against Utah, he has been a factor in the last three games against Golden State. Shumpert has averaged 8.7 PPG in 18.3 MPG while going 7-for-13 beyond the arc during that span. He’s also helped to contain the Splash Brothers. Shumpert shouldn’t have too much trouble finding work as a second-unit player.

Kevon Looney, Warriors, 23, PF/C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.56MM deal in 2018
With DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Jones nursing injuries, Looney has received steady minutes during the postseason. On the star-laden Warriors, Looney’s offensive contributions have been limited to putbacks and dunks. But the 2015 first-round selection has been a factor on the boards (nine rebounds in Game 5) and at the defensive end. It’s estimated that Looney will receive offers in the $3-$5MM range, which might make him affordable for the capped out Warriors, who own his Bird Rights.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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:

Dorian Finney-Smith, Mavericks, 25, SF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3.4MM deal in 2016
The Mavericks can make Finney-Smith a restricted free agent by extending $1.93MM qualifying offer. That’s small change by NBA standards but there’s no guarantee they’ll do it. Finney-Smith has been a rotation player throughout his third season in the NBA with trades and injuries opening up playing time. He’s averaging 7.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 24.4 MPG and still hasn’t developed a 3-point shot (31.9%), though his defensive ratings are on the plus side. Finney-Smith seems like a second-unit player going forward, whether it’s with the Mavs or elsewhere.

Jonas Valanciunas, Grizzlies, 26, C (Up) — Signed to a four-year, $64MM deal in 2016
Valanciunas was putting up silly numbers with Memphis before a Grade 2 ankle sprain sidelined him for the remainder of the season. He was averaging 19.9 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 1.6 BPG in just 27.7 MPG in 19 games since being traded by the Raptors. Of course, it’s easier to do that on a bad team, but it certainly added an element of mystery to Valanciunas’ offseason plans. It seemed a safe bet that Valanciunas would exercise his player option for a guaranteed $17.6MM. He might choose now to test the market and gain long-term security, even if he makes a few million less next season.

Iman Shumpert, Rockets, 28, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $40MM deal in 2015
Shumpert made his money with his current contract. He won’t be receiving any $11MM-per-year offers this summer. His 2017/18 season was a washout due to knee and foot injuries. He’s managed to stay on the court this season but his impact has been minimal. The Kings dealt him to Houston in a three-team trade in February and Shumpert has shot 29% from long range in 18 games with the Rockets. Shumpert’s 34% career average from deep is subpar and he’s never posted a PER above 12 in any season. He’ll likely be looking at veteran’s minimum offers this summer.

Stanley Johnson, Pelicans, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $12.85MM deal in 2015
Johnson was a colossal disappointment with the Pistons after a promising rookie campaign. A change of scenery, via a deadline trade, offered Johnson a fresh start. But he hasn’t been much better with New Orleans than he was in Detroit. Johnson’s strength is his perimeter defense and ability to guard a variety of positions, but he’s got to become more of an offensive threat for his career to blossom. The Pelicans can make him a restricted free agent by extending a $4.5MM qualify offer. One of the things their new GM must decide is whether to give the 22-year-old Johnson another year to improve his game.

Rudy Gay, Spurs, 32, PF (Up)– Signed to a one-year, $10.1MM deal in 2018
Quietly, Gay has delivered one of the best seasons of his career. His field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage are career highs. His rebounding average (6.8) is second only to his 7.4 mark in 2013/14, when he played 8.7 more minutes per game. His PER is a rock-solid 17.8. All the more impressive is that Gay tore his Achilles two seasons ago at age 30, an injury from which many players never fully recover. Gay may attract some interest from a contender seeking another veteran piece but the likely scenario is San Antonio rewarding him with a two- or three-year deal.

Iman Shumpert Hoping To Return From Knee Injury

Iman Shumpert hopes that he can return from right knee soreness to help the Rockets in the coming days, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes.

Shumpert, 28, has missed Houston’s first two games following the All-Star break due to the injury. He has not played since Feb. 13 and is currently listed as questionable for the Rockets’ game against the Hawks on Monday.

“I just need to run and do stuff,” Shumpert said. “I haven’t really tested it out now. We’ve been doing strength work. I’ll be able to do a little running (Sunday and Monday), see how it responds and go from there.”

After appearing in just 14 games last season due to knee surgery, Shumpert acknowledged he needs to be more careful in returning to the court. In 45 games between the Rockets and Kings this season, 8.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.1 SPG. Houston acquired Shumpert as part of a three-team deal ahead of the trade deadline.
“I don’t think it was a certain play that happened. I sat out a year. Just an accumulation of minutes,” Shumpert said. “Don’t get me wrong. I can still play through it. Looking at the long haul, being traded to this team, knowing what we’re up against and what we have to do come playoff time, I have to be able to play through. If I’m able to take some time now to get it all right, using the All-Star break for those days and taking these days, will do me a lot of good in strengthening it and making sure my form is right.”

Kings Notes: Deadline, Barnes, Fox, Brewer

Having entered trade deadline week carrying $11MM in cap room and a handful of expiring veteran contracts, the Kings were expected to be among the NBA’s most active teams at the deadline, and they delivered, completing a pair of deals for Alec Burks and Harrison Barnes. Discussing those trades following the deadline, GM Vlade Divac explained that the club was thinking about both its short- and long-term future.

“Our focus going into this process was to improve our team and not jeopardize our future,” Divac said, per James Ham of NBC Sports California. “I think we achieved exactly what we tried. We brought talent that is going to help us be a better team, not just for now, but moving forward.”

The Kings had long been seeking an answer at the small forward position and are hoping Barnes can be that player after they acquired him from the Mavs for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson. The veteran forward could theoretically leave Sacramento in free agency this summer, but the Kings sound hopeful that Barnes will stick around, either on his 2019/20 player option or on a new deal, as Ham relays.

“We want to focus on the rest of the season, and we’re going to talk about it after,” Divac said of Barnes’ future. “But definitely, we have interest to have him here for a long time.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Following the trade deadline, Divac spoke to star point guard De’Aaron Fox, who was said to be disappointed to see the Kings lose Jackson and Iman Shumpert, as Sam Amick of The Athletic details. “I tried to explain (the team’s deadline moves), why we did it, where we want to be, the experience with the playoffs and all that,” Divac said. “Look, De’Aaron is our marquee player. That’s the guy. I want De’Aaron to take this team to the next level, and I’m here to help him. Whatever I do, I try to make this team better.”
  • Corey Brewer, who signed a 10-day contract with the Kings after the trade deadline, called Sacramento a “perfect situation,” according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Brewer said he received interest from other teams, but likes the way the Kings “get up and down” the court and hopes to help the club’s push for a playoff spot.
  • Even after signing Brewer, the Kings still have one open spot on their roster, as our list of NBA roster counts shows. Sacramento is under no obligation to fill that opening, but the team would have to eventually get back up to 14 players if it lets Brewer walk once his 10-day deal expires.

Shumpert To Rockets, Burks to Kings In 3-Team Trade

FEBRUARY 7, 11:33am: The trade is now official, the Cavaliers confirmed in a press release. Here are the full details:

  • Cavaliers acquire Knight, Chriss, the Rockets’ 2019 first-round pick, and the Rockets 2022 second-round pick.
  • Rockets acquire Shumpert, Stauskas, Baldwin, and the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cleveland).
  • Kings acquire Burks and lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ 2020 second-round picks.

FEBRUARY 7, 7:21am: The draft pick the Kings are receiving from Houston in the deal will be the lesser of the Rockets’ and Warriors’ second-rounders in 2020, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.

FEBRUARY 6, 8:10pm: The Cavaliers will also receive a lottery-protected 2019 first-round pick from the Rockets, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who states that the front office is “thrilled” by what it was able to get in return for Burks.

7:25pm: The Kings, Rockets and Cavaliers have agreed to a three-team deal that will send Iman Shumpert to Houston, Alec Burks and a second-round pick to Sacramento and Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight to Cleveland, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Rockets will also receive Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin from the Cavs, adds ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Both guards were acquired Sunday when Cleveland shipped Rodney Hood to Portland. Houston hasn’t decided whether to keep both players for the rest of the season, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Because they were just acquired, Stauskas and Baldwin can’t be aggregated in the same trade, so the Cavaliers and Rockets will have to make two separate deals, tweets Keith Smith of Real GM. Burks will be traded for Knight, while Chriss’ $3.2MM salary will be absorbed with the TPE that Cleveland created by sending Hood to the Trail Blazers.

The Cavaliers had to include both guards to remain below the luxury tax, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. They created a $1.5MM trade exception for each player and are now $1.2MM under the tax. Knight carries cap hits of $14.6MM for this season and $15.6MM for 2019/20, while Chriss has a $3.2MM expiring deal. Cleveland is dangerously close to tax territory for next season, Marks adds, hovering about $10MM below without accounting for a projected top five draft pick.

Houston will save $6.3MM in projected tax payments and bring its bill down to $6.1MM, Marks notes in a separate post. The total could drop even lower depending on what happens with $1.5MM in bonuses for Clint Capela, who is sidelined after thumb surgery. The Rockets will inherit Shumpert’s Bird rights and will sit about $4MM above the tax threshold with the addition of the three players.

The Rockets had been seeking veteran wing help and were hoping to unload the contracts of Knight and Chriss after acquiring them from Phoenix over the summer in a deal to unload Ryan Anderson‘s hefty salary. Shumpert has an $11MM expiring contract. Burks also has an expiring deal worth a little more than $11.5MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Ingles, Cousins, Shumpert, Divac

Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has been cleared to practice, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet tweets. The Lakers will not practice prior to their game against Houston on Saturday, so Rondo’s first practice will be delayed until at least Sunday. Rondo hasn’t played since Christmas Day due to a torn ligament in his right ring finger. Rondo, who will be an unrestricted free agent once again this summer, underwent surgery on December 28th.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers still rues the day the franchise let Joe Ingles go, Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News reports. Ingles was the team’s last cut during 2014 training camp because the roster was already filled with guarantee contracts. Ingles has since emerged as a key piece for the Jazz. “I said it the day we released him that this was a bad decision and that we’re going to regret it,” Rivers said. “Unfortunately  I was working for someone who said we couldn’t eat a contract. We were begging to eat one contract and they said that will never happen and we had to let him go.”
  • The Warriors know there will be adjustment period once DeMarcus Cousins returns to action but they’re confident he’ll eventually fit in, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. Like many of the team’s stars, Cousins is used to having the ball in his hands frequently. They’ll all have to learn to share it even more with a dominant low-post scorer in the lineup. “Obviously, we want him to be himself,” Stephen Curry said. “We want him to be that player that he knows he can be. Bring that specific and unique skill set to kind of change our look a little bit. We have high-IQ guys all over the floor that will be able to figure it out. It might not be smooth at the beginning because it is going to be different, but he brings another element that we’ve never had before.”
  • Kings guard Iman Shumpert denies that he tried to enter Portland’s locker room in a confrontation manner on Monday, he tweets. Shumpert was apparently upset at Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic for setting a hard pick on him but said he merely wanted to talk things out. “I was respectful of their team’s space and privacy. I waited outside and asked to have a conversation. I was greeted by team security that talked to me and I left.”
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac confirms that he told minority owners to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets. Divac made his feelings known during a conference call with members of the team’s executive board. “I just told them about my plan,” he informed Anderson. When asked if he told those owners to stop meddling and leaking stories, he replied, “Yeah, that’s my plan.”