Jared Dudley

Western Notes: Daniels, Booker, Nuggets, Paul

Shooting guard Troy Daniels is one of the players the Suns could move before the trade deadline, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Daniels is averaging 8.3 PPG off the bench this season while shooting 42.5% from long range. He is signed through next season for a very affordable $3.25MM but if rookie Davon Reed comes on strong this month, Daniels becomes expendable, Bordow continues. Veterans Tyson Chandler, Greg Monroe and Jared Dudley could also be moved during the next five weeks, Bordow adds.

In other Western Conference developments:

  • The Suns have been using Devin Booker at the point during crunch times situations, Bordow notes in the same piece. Interim coach Jay Triano believes Booker could eventually become a playmaker in the mold of James Harden.
  • A friendly schedule could boost the Nuggets over the two next months, as Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website points out. They play 17 of their next 25 games at home, where they have gone 12-4 this season. “Hopefully we can use January, which is a lot of home games, to kind of build and get ahead and not be two games over .500,” coach Michael Malone told Dempsey. “I’m pretty satisfied with where we are, but we have a lot of work to do.”
  • Gerald Green was surprised how much he was able to contribute after signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Rockets last week, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green scored 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench on Friday in Washington, his first NBA game since a preseason stint with the Bucks. “I am very surprised about my wind,” he told Feigen. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m actually happy with myself about the work I’ve been putting in. That’s really been paying off.”

Pacific Notes: Evans, Clippers, James, Dudley

It’s rare to have a rookie play like a seasoned veteran on either side of the ball but Jawun Evans‘ impact on the Clippers‘ defense has been considerable. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes that Evans’ presence on the court has resulted in fewer points for the opposition and head coach Doc Rivers has noticed.

“I think Jawun’s ball pressure has been great,” Rivers said. “My entire theory on defense is the more clock you can [make the offense] use before they start, the less time they have to hurt you. And what Jawun’s doing when he’s in the game, he pressures the ball and teams are starting their offense at 13 and 12 seconds. It’s tough to score on a team in 12 seconds. And so I think that’s helped as well.”

Evans, 21, has appeared in 26 games this season, averaging 5.5 PPG and 1.9 APG. The Clippers have struggled this season and currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. Evans, however, has turned heads with his defensive abilities.

Below you can read up on other news out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers face a roster predicament with Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams, Elliot Teaford of the Orange County Register writes. Both Winston and Williams are on two-way deals, meaning they can only spend 45 days with the Clippers. The team can sign them to NBA deals but do not have two open roster spots. “It’s going to be tough,” Rivers said. “I won’t tell you our plans, but they’re not going to be great, I can tell you that. That’s all I can tell you. You’ll see. No, we just don’t have a lot of good options. We have to play them right now because we need them, and they’re playing great.”
  • Mike James, who the Suns waived last week, has cleared waivers, Scott Bordow of Arizona Republic tweets. The Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association are making a “hard push” to sign James, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. James, 27, averaged 10.4 PPG and 3.8 APG in 32 games for Phoenix before being waived.
  • Suns’ forward Jared Dudley has embraced the role of a veteran leader for Phoenix, the 32-year-old said to James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Dudley has only appeared in 14 games this season and is averaging career-lows across nearly every category. However, he enjoys helping the team’s younger players.“I think that through my knowledge and wisdom that I’ve helped [the young players] out and that is something that I can continue to do,” Dudley said. “I mean every NBA team is getting younger by the year and teams are looking for vets to help out.”

Suns GM Not Expecting Another Major Trade

The deal that sent Eric Bledsoe from Phoenix to Milwaukee in November may go down as one of the biggest in-season trades of 2017/18, but the Suns are unlikely to make another splash before the deadline, according to general manager Ryan McDonough. As Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic details, McDonough downplayed the idea of his team completing a major trade by February 8.

“If we do make a move, it will be positionally to fill a short-term need,” McDonough said. “There’s nobody we can sign or trade for that’s going to come close to replicating half of Devin Booker’s production. Nobody out there is 22 years old and like Davon Reed, who we’re really high on. So we’re most excited about getting those guys back [from injuries].”

Trading a veteran player like Tyson Chandler or Jared Dudley would make sense for a rebuilding team like the Suns. However, McDonough values the leadership those players bring to the locker room, suggesting that even in the midst of a rebuild, “you want to keep at least a few good vets around and we’re happy with those guys.”

Chandler is one of three solid centers on the Suns’ roster, and has been competing for playing time with Greg Monroe and Alex Len. Since Phoenix acquired Monroe, there has been a belief that McDonough would like to move one of those three centers, but the GM wouldn’t even concede that the team wants to clear that logjam. As Bordow writes, McDonough noted that the Suns don’t want to be shorthanded if they trade a center and then one of their remaining two gets hurt.

“I get that it’s a challenge for Coach [Jay] Triano and his staff [to find minutes for all three], but at the same time that’s what good teams do,” McDonough said. “They have depth and balance and manage the minutes and manage the situation even if it’s not perfect for anybody involved.”

If the Suns do make a trade in advance of the deadline, it’s “probably” safe to assume that it won’t come at the expense of minutes for their young players, per McDonough.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Harris, Dudley

The Thunder have three players who’ve grown used to getting the final shot over the course of long, impressive careers. Now, Royce Young of ESPN writes, they’ll have to figure out who gets the ball when the game is on the line.

While Russell Westbrook was the painfully obvious choice last season, he’s joined on the Thunder by Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Both Anthony and George have traditionally been the focal point of their teams’ offenses and were often the go-to options down the stretch, the latter even going so far as to lambaste former teammate C.J. Miles for taking a last-second shot in the playoffs last spring.

Carmelo’s been a closeout guy the places he’s been, the same thing with Paul. But any time you have a team you have to do it by finding the open man,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “Clearly for us last year, somebody creating and generating a shot for himself or someone else, it was Russell. But obviously now with Carmelo and Paul being here, I think it’s about making the right play and right decision.

One knock on the Thunder in the past has been their reliance on isolation basketball when the game is on the long. Considering the roster balance last season, that style of play was more or less expected. With a number of legitimate offensive threats in 2017/18, however, the expectations for ball movement – and making sound decisions – should rise.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Details on Gary Harris‘ contract have emerged, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes. The cap hit for the Nuggets guard in 2018/19 will be $16.5MM and that mark will rise annually until the deal terminates at $20.5MM in 2021/22. There are also $2.5MM of additional, unlikely, bonuses each year.
  • There’s no clear frontrunner to fill the primary backup power forward role for the Nuggets this offseason. Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports writes about how the changing NBA could impact Denver’s frontcourt depth chart in 2017/18.
  • A prediction that the Timberwolves could send Cole Aldrich and a second-round pick to the Suns for Jared Dudley has legs, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets. Minnesota has been particularly interested in Dudley’s recovery from offseason toe surgery.

Lowe’s Latest: Wolves, Suns, Parker, Bucks

In another one of his in-depth NBA preview features, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has grouped the NBA’s 30 teams into tiers, with the Warriors in the top tier on their own, followed by the Cavaliers, Thunder, Rockets, and Spurs in tier two. Lowe’s piece examines each club, with a handful of Eastern Conference teams – the Nets, Hawks, Knicks, Pacers, and Bulls – bringing up the rear.

Along the way, Lowe drops a few noteworthy tidbits of information about roster moves and trade possibilities, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • The Timberwolves have dangled Cole Aldrich‘s contract and a second-round pick in search of veteran help, sources tell Lowe. We heard reports of Aldrich’s availability back in July, and nothing came of it, but the Wolves still project to have an open roster spot or two, so it’s possible the team will revisit this scenario at some point.
  • The Suns have explored trading Jared Dudley and/or Tyson Chandler, but they likely feel no urgency to move either player at this point, says Lowe. The ESPN scribe adds that Phoenix “will surely listen” if the team receives inquiries on Eric Bledsoe.
  • Bucks forward Jabari Parker is unlikely to return before February, at the earliest, according to Lowe. The former No. 2 overall pick continues to recover from a torn ACL as his October 16 contract extension deadline nears.
  • The Bucks – who got out of the tax this year – would risk going back over the tax threshold for 2018/19 with an extension for Parker. Sources tell Lowe that Milwaukee has discussed dumping John Henson and/or Mirza Teletovic, but teams are “squeezing hard.” Henson and Teletovic are on the books for about $10.5MM each in 2018/19.

West Notes: Cash Considerations, Dudley, Zhou

As the smoke clears from the chaos of the Chris Paul trade, details have emerged regarding the numerous side deals that went down in order for the Rockets to acquire the superstar point guard from the Clippers.

We broke down the math behind the trades but Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has provided insight as to the exact financial details of the deals that brought players on non-guaranteed deals to the Rockets in exchange for cash considerations.

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Veteran Suns forward Jared Dudley underwent surgery to repair a lingering toe issue and will be sidelined 3-4 months, ESPN relays.
  • Although he’s justifiably upset about the end of Lob City, Doc Rivers isn’t ready to give up competing for a title. “That part is over. And that bugs me,” Rivers told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “But we’re not done trying to reach our goal. Sometimes you gotta do it a different way. Because the way we tried to do it didn’t work.”
  • The Nuggets will get a good idea of where they stand in the eyes of free agents this summer, Chris Dempsey of  Altitude Sports writes. The scribe asks whether Nikola Jokic‘s breakout campaign will be enough of a foundation for the club to recruit off of.
  • The Rockets could look to sign Zhou Qi to a multiyear deal by using a portion of their mid-level exception, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes, but they wouldn’t be opposed to siging him to a shorter deal if that meant landing another coveted free agent.

Trade Rumors: Nuggets, Butler, Dudley, Drummond

The Nuggets, who spoke to the Bulls at the February trade deadline about Jimmy Butler, have engaged with Chicago again as the draft approaches, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN. According to Goodman, any offer Denver makes obviously wouldn’t include Nikola Jokic, but would feature multiple young players and draft picks.

Butler, of course, has reportedly indicated that he wants to remain with the Bulls. And while a fondness for Chicago and his Bulls teammates may play a part in that stance, he’s also aware that he’ll no longer be eligible for a potential Designated Veteran Extension if he’s traded. Butler would be eligible for that super-max extension if he earns an All-NBA nod next year, but only if he remains on the Bulls, which is the “real reason” he doesn’t want to be moved, tweets Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA as the draft inches closer:

  • The Suns have talked to the Pelicans about a potential Jared Dudley trade, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), who adds that any deal would likely involve second-round picks. New Orleans may not have the cap room to absorb Dudley’s $10MM salary outright, so the Pelicans may have to send out a contract or two in a possible swap.
  • Although there have been whispers about Sacramento’s interest in Andre Drummond, a deal between the Kings and Pistons remains unlikely at this point, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press adds (via Twitter) that he has been told multiple times that any Drummond trade is unlikely, though that could change.
  • Amick passes along another note on the Kings, tweeting that while Sacramento plans to use pick at No. 5, there’s a chance the team will move the No. 10 selection in order to land a player and a later pick.
  • A source tells Jason Quick of CSNNW.com (Twitter link) that there’s “no way” the Trail Blazers acquire LaMarcus Aldridge from the Spurs.

Nets Notes: Booker, Dudley, Johnson

Trevor Booker learned early in his career that he didn’t need to be a star to make it in the league. During his rookie year on the Wizards, he realized that he needed to find his niche.

“That’s actually been my approach ever since I came into the league,” Booker said (via Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype). “Coming into Washington, we had John Wall, who had been the No. 1 overall pick. He’s doing great right now, by the way. They were focused on him. You could see that their main focus was on John Wall, which was fine. I understood it. I had to learn then that it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t in college anymore. I realized that I needed to find my niche. I had to earn every minute and whoever I was playing against, whether it was in a game or in a practice, I had to [work hard]. I knew I had to do that to stay in this league.”

Booker found his niche as a locker room leader and when the Nets signed him last offseason, they expected him to be a veteran mentor to his young teammates. He proved to be a valuable addition and he’s enjoying his role in Brooklyn.

“I just try to tell them what I’ve been through and how I’ve stuck around in the league for seven years. I just let them know that you don’t have to be a superstar; you don’t have to go out there and score 30 points a night to make your name known and stick around in the league. You have to find your niche, work at it and do [your job] well. You don’t have to go out there and be a hero. I try to show them, as an example, look at me. I’ve averaged probably 6 points over my career and I’m going into my eighth year and still going strong. That’s the type of the thing that I’d try to instill in them,” Booker added.

Here’s more from Brooklyn:

  • Booker believes both GM Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson have done excellent jobs in year one of their tenures, as he tells Kennedy in the same piece. “[Marks] definitely gets it, and he’s an intelligent guy. I think he did a pretty good job this year of trying to change the culture…Then, with Coach Atkinson, he does a great job of developing players. Just watching him throughout the season, he’d be on the court working with players and showing them different things. And that’s the kind of thing that players need, especially young players,” Booker said.
  • The Nets were interested in signing Marvin Williams and Jared Dudley last offseason in part because of their respective reputations as excellent locker room leaders, Charles Maniego of SB Nation notes. Both players signed elsewhere and Brooklyn decided to add Randy Foye and Booker to mentor the young roster. Maniego also relays that adding high character players will again be a priority for the franchise this offseason.
  • Amir Johnson could be an option for the Nets in free agency, Maniego opines in the same piece. The power forward was named “Teammate of the Year” by the Celtics last season.

And-Ones: Cook, Ferrell, Fines, Tanking

Quinn Cook has rejoined the D-League’s Canton Charge after his 10-day contract in Dallas expired, but it may just be a matter of time before he’s back with an NBA team, writes Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. “He proved he can play in this league,” one source told Amico. “Now he just needs to find the right opportunity.”

Cook could find inspiration from Yogi Ferrell, who was briefly Cook’s teammate in Dallas. The undrafted point guard turned a 10-day contract into a multiyear contract with the Mavericks after being cut by the Nets. As Ferrell explains, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, things didn’t work out for him in Brooklyn, but it only takes one team “to fall in love with you” (Twitter links). “Brooklyn didn’t like me, so they got rid of me,” Ferrell said. “I came to Dallas and they love me. So I’m glad it worked out here.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the league:

  • The NBA announced on Thursday that Suns forward Jared Dudley and Wizards guard Brandon Jennings were fined $35K apiece for their actions during an altercation that took place in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game between the two teams.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford (Insider link) provides a top-10 list of sorts, assigning teams a “Tank Rank” that looks a little different in some cases than their current spots in the 2016/17 Reverse Standings. For instance, even though the Suns currently have the league’s third-worst record, it’s the Sixers that Ford places third in the tanking rankings, suggesting that Phoenix is playing well and could pass Philadelphia in the standings in the coming weeks.
  • Deron Williams (Cavaliers), Matt Barnes (Warriors), Brandon Jennings (Wizards) are among the recently-signed veteran free agents who could end up making an impact in the postseason, writes James Blancarte of Basketball Insiders.

Southeast Notes: Battier, Beal, Ibaka, Ross, Mahinmi

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wondered if Shane Battier, recently hired as the Heat‘s Director of Basketball Development and Analytics, will eventually assume leadership of the franchise from Pat Riley. For the interim, Winderman writes, Battier’s position will be the “first step” toward a post-Riley front office. Battier will work alongside Andy Elisburg and Nick Arison, executives with an advanced “business-of-basketball” acumen. While there is no reason to believe Riley is ready to step away from the game, Winderman could see Riley moving into a role similar to Jerry West’s with the Lakers; an executive board member who isn’t accountable for mundane, day-to-day front office operations.

More from around the Southeast…

  • Jared Dudley of the Suns stuck up for his former teammate, claiming Bradley Beal was snubbed of an All-Star roster spot. “The @NBA tells us players that winning matters! Wizards are the hottest team in the NBA! Bradley Beal is healthy and balling!”, Dudley tweeted on Thursday. (Twitter link) Keely Diven of CSN Mid-Atlantic argued that Carmelo Anthony received the All-Star nod due to his ability to attract media attention. Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today gave further insight to ‘Melo’s selection, noting that Anthony received more votes from coaches than Beal.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders described it as “a little obvious” that Serge Ibaka did not bond with his teammates in Orlando. Ibaka, who was dealt to Toronto on February 14, didn’t mesh with the playing styles of Orlando’s younger players (Twitter link). By Kyler’s account, it seems that Ibaka’s teammates “had real issues” with the 27-year-old, and welcomed a change.
  • Terrence Ross told Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders that he embraced the “fresh start” in Orlando. “I was kind of aware that something could have been happening before the deadline so it wasn’t too shocking,” Ross said. “At the same time, being drafted to a team and playing for one team, it’s a little different, but I’m enjoying the process. It’s a good opportunity. It’s a new fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to it. I just kind of hope we can bring some of that experience I got in Toronto and bring it here, and really just helping wherever I can.” Ross, who has averaged 10.4 points through 54 games in 2016/17, is in the first season of a three-year, $31.5MM contract.
  • Jason Smith will likely see a dip in minutes as the Wizards ease Ian Mahinmi into the lineup, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes. Smith, who has averaged 7.8 points with 4.8 rebounds over his last six games, has been a serviceable back-up to starter Marcin Gortat“What he’s [Smith] done the last two or three months is what he’s done his entire career and he’s been terrific,” said Coach Scott Brooks. “But if you have a good team, everybody’s going to have to sacrifice. It’s not just Jason, starters are going to have to sacrifice.”
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