Jarrett Allen

Allen, Nance Back For Cavaliers Wednesday

Cavaliers big men Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. are expected to return to the floor for the club tomorrow against the Hornets, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports.

After incurring a concussion in a March 26 bout vs the Lakers, starting center Allen has been working through the NBA’s concussion protocols. A “mystery illness” befell forward Nance, who lost nearly 20 pounds during his absence, which began after his March 27 appearance vs. the Kings.

“We’re gonna have to make some tough decisions,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of balancing his healthy frontcourt. Dean Wade and Kevin Love have been the starters with Allen and Nance out, and Isaiah Hartenstein has been played alongside the other two in ultra-big lineups.

“We’ve got to make some decisions that are best for the short term, and then some decisions that are best for the long term,” Bickerstaff continued. “Obviously we’ve got to find ways to get Larry and Jarrett back on the floor.”

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Nance, Dellavedova, Prince

Cavaliers big men Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. have resumed basketball-related activities on a limited basis and may be ready to play next week, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Both players were able to work out during a practice session Friday.

Allen has been sidelined since suffering a concussion in a March 26 game. He missed his seventh consecutive game tonight and isn’t expected to play Sunday. Sources tell Fedor he may return Wednesday at Charlotte if he continues to progress through the league’s concussion protocol.

Nance has missed the past four games while fighting the effects of an unknown illness that resulted in a loss of about 20 pounds and forced him to be bedridden. A source told Fedor that Nance is “close to feeling like himself once again.” The team is also looking at a Wednesday return for Nance if his recovery continues. The Cavs will practice Tuesday before making a final decision on either player.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Matthew Dellavedova‘s return has given Cleveland the backup point guard it has been lacking all season, Fedor writes in a separate story. Dellavedova, who missed 47 games due to a concussion, whiplash, and an emergency appendectomy, is averaging a modest 2.3 points and 5.5 assists through four games, but his plus-minus rating is at plus-29 in 70 minutes. “Delly really does a great job of playing with his brain,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He understands how to set the table for other people. His game isn’t based on himself. When your game is based on the team and making your teammates’ job easier, it makes … your comeback a little bit easier.” The Cavs signed Yogi Ferrell and Quinn Cook to 10-day contracts to try to fill Dellavedova’s role, but neither was kept on the roster.
  • Forward Taurean Prince will likely need ankle surgery once the season is done, Fedor tweets. Acquired in a January trade, Prince has one more year on his contract at $13MM.
  • Cavaliers players, coaches and staff members received COVID-19 shots March 30, Fedor adds in another piece. Because it was the Johnson & Johnson version, they won’t have to schedule a second dose, except for Bickerstaff, who got a Moderna shot before the others became available.

Fischer’s Latest: Mavs, Fournier, Rockets, Drummond, Gasol

The Mavericks ended up making just one relatively modest move at the trade deadline, acquiring J.J. Redick and Nicolo Melli in a trade with New Orleans. However, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, that deal may have been a fail-safe option for Dallas as the team explored other options leading up to last Thursday afternoon.

As Fischer explains, the Mavericks also explored a trade that would have sent James Johnson and two second-round pick to Orlando in a package for Evan Fournier. The Magic ultimately chose a similar offer from Boston that allowed them to create a $17MM+ trade exception instead of taking back a matching salary like Johnson’s.

The Mavericks also spoke to the Rockets about Victor Oladipo, sources tell Fischer, but those talks didn’t gain momentum.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • During the James Harden trade talks earlier in the year, the Rockets never projected much interest in hanging onto Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert as part of that deal, Fischer says. Houston didn’t view Allen as a long-term frontcourt fit alongside Christian Wood and wanted to roll the dice on Oladipo recapturing his All-NBA form, a gamble that didn’t work out.
  • Fischer lists the Raptors, Bulls, Mavericks, Clippers, Celtics, Heat, Hornets, Nets, Knicks, and Lakers as teams that showed some level of interest in Cavaliers center Andre Drummond before he was bought out, but none of those clubs could ultimately put together a package that matched the big man’s $28.75MM salary and also appealed to Cleveland. After he was bought out, Drummond was intrigued by the Celtics and spoke to Boston point guard (and fellow UConn alum) Kemba Walker, but ultimately decided to sign with the Lakers.
  • With Drummond now in Los Angeles, some executives are wondering whether the Lakers will consider buying out Marc Gasol, per Fischer. “When they get fully healthy, it’s gonna be a logjam,” one assistant GM said, referring to a frontcourt that also features big men Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell, along with power forwards LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma. It’s worth noting Gasol has a second guaranteed year on his contract, though it’s only worth the minimum.

Haynes’ Latest: Bagley, Pistons, Bey, Gordon, Collins, Cavs

The Pistons recently turned down an offer from the Kings that would have sent rookie forward Saddiq Bey to Sacramento in a deal involving Marvin Bagley III, league sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

After Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report suggested earlier today that Bagley would welcome a change of scenery, Haynes reiterates that point in his latest report, writing that the Kings and the third-year big man are “keen on discovering a corridor toward separation.”

A deal for Bey would be a long shot though, as the Pistons have shown little to no interest in parting with any members of their rookie class, according to James Edwards III of The Athletic, who says all four of those rookies (Bey, Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, and Saben Lee) are considered building blocks for the team’s rebuild.

Here’s more from Haynes:

  • Rockets players thought the team was on the verge of acquiring Magic forward Aaron Gordon a few days ago, but at least one source with knowledge of trade talks disputed that a deal was at the finish line, writes Haynes. Sources tell Yahoo Sports that Gordon doesn’t want to go to a rebuilding team, preferring to join a club with the potential to make a playoff run. While Gordon doesn’t have the ability to dictate his landing spot, he’ll be a free agent in 2022, so any team giving up assets to acquire him would want to be relatively confident it could sign him beyond then, Haynes observes.
  • As other reports have suggested, the odds of a John Collins trade this week appear to be declining. Haynes says the Hawks haven’t been overly impressed by the offers, including a Mavericks package featuring Maxi Kleber.
  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen isn’t going anywhere before the trade deadline, but Cleveland is expected to have plenty of competition for him on the restricted free agent market this summer. Haynes reports that the Pistons, Raptors, Spurs, and Wizards are expected to be among the teams with interest in Allen, who turned down a four-year, $48MM extension offer from the Nets before the season.
  • A buyout is becoming a more likely outcome than a trade for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. A buyout would be a bit of a surprise if there’s any interest in McGee, since he’s on a very movable $4.2MM expiring contract.

Cavaliers Notes: Drummond, Allen, Love, Cook

The Cavaliers are still optimistic about an Andre Drummond trade before Thursday’s deadline, although they don’t expect much in return, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Drummond hasn’t played since February 12 while the Cavs searched for a trading partner, and he will be a strong buyout candidate if Cleveland can’t work out a deal.

The interest level in Drummond has always been high, Fedor adds, but his $28.7MM contract makes any deal complicated. Many teams would like to add the veteran center for a playoff run, but the players they would have to give up to match salaries are too good to part with.

Fedor states that general manager Koby Altman will need to be creative and suggests a multi-team deal is the only realistic way for Drummond to be traded. Cedi Osman or Taurean Prince could be offered to motivate other teams to get involved, according to Fedor.

Rival teams are becoming skeptical that Drummond will be traded, Fedor adds, but he says the idea that only a few teams will have a chance to sign him after a buyout works in Cleveland’s favor. The Knicks, Raptors, Bulls, Heat and Celtics probably couldn’t compete with the Lakers or Nets if Drummond becomes a free agent, so they may be willing to make modest trade offers. Fedor points to New York as the most likely team to trade for Drummond.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers should expect an offseason extension for Jarrett Allen to cost about $100MM, Fedor notes in the same story. Even though he will be a restricted free agent, Allen is expected to be one of the top players on the market this summer. Cleveland is committed to keeping him, Fedor adds, but will have to start his new contract at around $20MM per year.
  • Kevin Love has been offered up in trades for several months, but the Cavs haven’t found any takers, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. A calf injury that has sidelined Love for most of the season and a pricey contract that pays him more than $60MM over the next two years have limited the market for the veteran forward.
  • The Cavaliers are facing a decision on Quinn Cook, whose 10-day contract expires today. Cook has appeared in four games since signing with Cleveland, averaging 5.0 PPG in 12.8 minutes per night. He is eligible to sign another 10-day deal with the team.

USA Basketball Expands Finalist List for Olympic Roster

Fifteen players have been added to the list of finalists for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today in a press release. The group will eventually be pared down to 12 players who will participate in the Olympic Games, which are set for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will serve as coach for the U.S. team, with Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Villanova coach Jay Wright and former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce as his assistants.

No tryouts will be held this year. Instead, USA Basketball will choose the final roster by early summer. Training camp is scheduled to being in early July before the conclusion of the NBA playoffs.

“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible,” USA Basketball men’s national team managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that. Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”

The new names under consideration are:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers)
  2. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  3. Jerami Grant (Pistons)
  4. Blake Griffin (Nets)
  5. Jrue Holiday (Bucks)
  6. DeAndre Jordan (Nets)
  7. Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  8. Julius Randle (Knicks)
  9. Duncan Robinson (Heat)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Fred VanVleet (Raptors)
  12. John Wall (Rockets)
  13. Zion Williamson (Pelicans)
  14. Christian Wood (Rockets)
  15. Trae Young (Hawks)

Forty-two players remain from the original list, which was announced in February 2020:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Nets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Lakers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Hornets)
  22. Dwight Howard (Sixers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Cavaliers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Rockets)
  36. Chris Paul (Suns)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Pistons)
  38. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  39. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  40. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  41. Russell Westbrook (Wizards)
  42. Derrick White (Spurs)

Two players removed from that list are Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and Celtics guard Marcus Smart. Sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic that Smart turned down an invitation because of injury concerns due to having a short offseason and playing late into consecutive seasons (Twitter link).

Aggregation Restriction Lifted For Players In James Harden Trade

The trade aggregation restriction has expired for the seven players who were involved in this season’s most significant deal, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. That means everyone who was part of the four-team swap that sent James Harden to the Nets in January can now be combined with other salaries in another trade.

While that may not matter much to the other three teams involved, it’s significant for the Rockets, particularly involving Victor Oladipo, who has an expiring $21MM contract. Oladipo has remained a productive scorer in Houston, averaging 19.9 PPG in 15 games, but he’s shooting just 38.7% from the field and 31.3% from three-point range.

The rebuilding Rockets will have to decide whether they want to make a long-term investment in Oladipo, who will turn 29 before the season ends and is still sitting out one-half of back-to-back sets due to health concerns. He declined a two-year, $45MM extension offer from Houston shortly after the trade, the largest the Rockets could offer at the time, but the team admits that was just a way to show he was wanted. Oladipo will seek a longer deal once free agency arrives.

If Houston decides not to make that investment, its best option is to trade him before the March 25 deadline. The Knicks would be among the teams with interest, according to a report this week.

Owning the league’s third-worst record after 13 straight losses, the Rockets are expected to be among the league’s most active sellers heading into the deadline. They will also be able to aggregate the $9.6MM contract for Dante Exum and the $1.78MM deal for Rodions Kurucs, as both were acquired in the Harden deal.

In addition to Harden, the other players in the trade – who can now be aggregated – were Pacers guard Caris LeVert and Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Central Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Central Division:

T.J. McConnell, Pacers, 28, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $7MM deal in 2019

McConnell delivered one of the rarest triple-doubles in NBA history this week. He became the first player to record a point-assist-steal triple-double since Mookie Blaylock in 1998 when he racked up 16 points, 13 assists and 10 steals against Cleveland on Wednesday. He also had a 17-point, 12-assist outing against New York on Saturday.

McConnell isn’t a 3-point threat, but he’s been maximizing his skills as one of Indiana’s top reserves this season, averaging a career-best 6.8 APG. He’s a good fit with the Pacers but he’ll attract interest from other teams as a solid second-unit floor general.

Saben Lee, Pistons, 21, PG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $449K deal in 2020

Lee was selected with the 38th overall pick in the draft and signed a two-way contract. He’s taking advantage of some unexpected playing time and showing he’s worthy of a spot on the 15-man roster. With Killian Hayes and Delon Wright sidelined by injuries, Lee has provided a spark off the bench behind recently-acquired Dennis Smith Jr. In Detroit’s last two victories, Lee had a 21-point, 4-assist performance against Orlando and a 20-point, 7-assist outing against Toronto. He needs to become more of a perimeter threat but he’ll fearlessly attack the basket and he’s endeared himself to the coaching staff with his work ethic.

Jarrett Allen, 22, C (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $10MM deal in 2017

With the awkwardness of sharing the center spot with Andre Drummond behind him, Allen has settled in as the Cavaliers’ main man in the middle. In 17 starts at center this season, Allen is averaging 16.2 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.2 APG and 1.7 BPG while shooting 69.5% from the field. It’s well-known that Cleveland has every intention of re-signing Allen as he enters restricted free agency. The intrigue will come if one of the teams with ample salary-cap space delivers a giant offer sheet. In any case, Allen will become a very rich man this summer.

Thaddeus Young, Bulls, 32, PF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $43.6MM deal in 2019

Young has a partially-guaranteed $14.19MM salary next season. He’ll get $6MM for sure; he’s giving the Bulls plenty of incentive to hand him the remaining $8.19MM and keep him off the free agent market. Young has been one of the best reserves in the league this season, providing the Bulls with a steady finisher at the rim (career-best 60.9% from the field) and plenty of rebounding. Coach Billy Donovan has turned Young into a playmaker and he’s embraced that responsibility, averaging a career-high 4.4 APG. If the Bulls opt to trade Young this month, they’ll get a decent haul in draft picks and/0r young players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cavaliers, Pistons Among Definite Deadline Sellers

Because there’s now a potential path to the postseason for the top 10 teams in each NBA conference (via the new play-in tournament), it’s taking longer this season for clear sellers to emerge on the trade market, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“Most teams are still in the playoff chase, which makes everyone bunched together and the trade market less active,” a high-ranking team official told The Athletic.

However, as Charania reports, at least two teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings look like definite sellers, according to rival teams. The 13th-seeded Cavaliers and the 15th-seeded Pistons appear to be open for business.

Cleveland’s most obvious trade candidate is Andre Drummond, who has been pulled from the rotation as the team looks to find a taker for him. According to Charania, there have been some exploratory calls on Drummond, with the Bulls among the teams to express some interest, but there’s still skepticism that the Cavs will find an appealing deal for the big man, who has an unwieldy $28.75MM cap hit.

Drummond isn’t the only Cavalier on the trade block. The club has also been open to discussing JaVale McGee, Cedi Osman, and Taurean Prince, according to Charania, who hears that multiple teams have inquired on the Cavs’ wing players. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Isaac Okoro are viewed as the club’s core pieces and are presumably off-limits.

Like the Cavs, the Pistons have an expensive big man who is sitting out as the team attempts to move him. However, Blake Griffin, who is making more than Drummond ($36.8MM) and has another guaranteed year left on his contract, will be even harder to trade. Sources tell Charania and James Edwards III of The Athletic that Detroit will likely work toward a buyout with Griffin.

Veteran shooting guard Wayne Ellington is expected to draw interest from contenders on the trade market and should be a far more valuable trade chip than Griffin, given his affordable minimum salary and his strong production in 2020/21 (10.6 PPG, .435 3PT%).

According to Edwards, combo guard Delon Wright and big man Mason Plumlee have also registered interest from rival teams, but both players are under contract beyond this season, so the Pistons won’t necessarily feel compelled to move them. As Edwards explains, while Detroit will be a deadline seller, the sense around the league is that GM Troy Weaver won’t be as aggressive this month as he was during his first offseason on the job, when he remade nearly the entire roster.

Jarrett Allen, Kendrick Nunn Meet Starter Criteria

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and Heat guard Kendrick Nunn both met the starter criteria as a result of being included in their respective teams’ starting lineups on Monday night.

The starter criteria applies to players who will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end. Typically, a player is required to start a total of 82 games during the two seasons prior to his free agency to meet the criteria, but that threshold has been adjusted and varies from player to player this year, since each of the last two NBA seasons have been shortened.

Based on the number of games their teams played prior to the hiatus last season, Allen needed a total of 68 starts over two seasons (not counting the summer bubble), while Nunn required 69. Allen had 58 pre-hiatus starts last season and recorded his 10th of this season on Monday, while Nunn had 62 last season and now has seven this year.

In order to make a player a restricted free agent, a team must issue him a qualifying offer, which is essentially a guaranteed one-year contract offer that gives the team the right of first refusal on a rival offer sheet. Meeting the starter criteria makes a player eligible for a larger qualifying offer than he would have been if he’d fallen short of that criteria.

By meeting the starter criteria, Allen boosts the value of his qualifying offer from $5,661,538 to $7,705,447, while Nunn’s QO increases from $2,122,822 to $4,736,102, the same figure that applies to his teammate Duncan Robinson.

Of course, a team has the option of forgoing a qualifying offer and making a player an unrestricted free agent rather than an RFA, but that seems unlikely to happen for Nunn and extremely unlikely for Allen, who is expected to be Cleveland’s long-term center.

Allen and Nunn are the fourth and fifth RFAs-to-be to meet the starter criteria this season, joining Robinson, Lonzo Ball, and Devonte’ Graham. Barring an injury or another unexpected development, Hawks big man John Collins, who needs just two more starts, will be the next to reach that threshold.