JaVale McGee

Pacific Notes: Ballmer, Ariza, Caruso, Howard

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer invested $100MM in the city of Inglewood, California this week, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.

The investment was created as part of the city’s new arena development agreement, with the Clippers labeling it as the largest funding commitment for community programs related to a sports or entertainment venue in California.

“We’re close to a residential neighborhood and we are being very mindful,” Ballmer told ESPN in July about building a potential arena in Inglewood. “Investing well into the community, being a good citizen of the community. No homes need to get moved but we need to be a good neighbor.”

Ballmer’s proposal for a new Clippers arena, according to Youngmisuk, would include a corporate headquarters, team training facility, sports medicine clinic and much more.

“I want it to be beautiful,” Ballmer said. “But I want it to be about basketball. I want it to be comfortable. But I want it to be about basketball.”

There’s more today out of the Pacific Division:

  • James Ham of NBC Sports Sacramento examines how Trevor Ariza could fit in a crowded Kings rotation this season. Ariza, a veteran 3-and-D forward, signed a two-year, $25MM deal to join the Kings in free agency this past summer.
  • Mike Trudell of Lakers.com discusses several Lakers-related items in his mailbag, including the possibility of Alex Caruso starting at point guard this season. Caruso was better than Rajon Rondo while playing alongside LeBron James last season, though head coach Frank Vogel also has the option of testing Quinn Cook at starting point guard in training camp.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com examines whether former All-Star Dwight Howard could help solve the Lakers‘ depth issues at the center position. Howard is expected to fill in the role that injured center DeMarcus Cousins was supposed to fill before tearing his ACL, likely playing back-up center behind JaVale McGee to start the season and controlling the team’s interior presence on defense.

Details On Dwight Howard Signing With Lakers

Dwight Howard is returning to Los Angeles in a rebounding and rim-protecting role to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The signing of the center was a complex process for the Lakers, as Shams Charania of The Athletic explains.

The Grizzlies gave Howard and representatives permission to seek out a deal. Once that happened, the big man met with Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd, with whom Howard played during USA Basketball activities in 2007. The two have a solid relationship and mutual respect for each other from their time in the NBA together, Charania writes in a full-length piece.

In the past, Howard wanted an expanded role on the teams he’d played for. Now, he would be fine with simply rebounding, defending and staying in his lane. Howard has reportedly made these kind of declarations before with no actions to follow up his words. However, Kidd was convinced that Howard had sincerely shifted his mindset.

Next came getting on the same page with Lakers’ stakeholders, from James and Davis to ownership and front office members, Charania writes. Howard then got the green light for the workout with the team, which went well — “amazing” was what one source told Charania about Howard’s performance.

Here’s more on Howard’s path back to the Lakers:

  • Charania hears that Dwight actually arrived at the Lakers’ training facility the day before his scheduled workout, showcasing initiative which impressed the team’s brass.
  • Howard was convincing during an emotional meeting with Lakers’ players and staff, explaining how he had hit rock bottom and understood what he needed to do to remain in the league.
  • Davis, who was one of the players with whom Howard met, prefers to play alongside a true center during the course of the NBA season, a source tells Charania. Davis is comfortable playing the five during the playoffs but his preference is part of the reason the Lakers were targeting centers to begin with after DeMarcus Cousins went down.
  • By multiple accounts, Howard is fully healthy and truly motivated. Charania writes that Howard treated his workout with the Lakers like a post-college player participating in a pre-draft workout.
  • Howard doesn’t feel a need to start at the five but he will compete for it along with JaVale McGee. He’s willing to play any amount of minutes the team needs of him with a source close to Howard telling Charania that “Dwight is ready. He can’t wait.”

Lakers Notes: Pelinka, Contracts, Green, Cousins

The Lakers are taking an all-or-nothing mentality into next season with the acquisition of Anthony Davis and numerous veteran free agents, including DeMarcus Cousins. GM Rob Pelinka said there’s only one goal for next season, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“For us, anything short of a championship is not success,” Pelinka said. “So we have to learn from last season, because we didn’t win a championship. And a lot of that went into the construction of the roster this year.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Pelinka notes the benefit of signing players to short-term contracts. While Davis is expected to be a long-term Lakers, only James (player option) is currently on the books beyond 2021, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays. “It gives us the ability to not only contend in the short term with the players we wanted, but also add a superstar or max player in that July of 2021,” Pelinka said.
  • Shooting guard Danny Green, another off-season free agent addition, said he waited for Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard to make his decision before he chose his destination, according to another Ganguli story. Green may have stayed in Toronto or gone to Dallas if Leonard hadn’t joined the Clippers. “Those five days seemed like five months. … You think a day, it goes by pretty fast but the way it was happening, the way I was talking to him, you would think it was a week. Like, ‘I got to wait another day, dude? Like, come on!’” Green said.
  • The Cousins signing will only work if he’s willing to come off the bench and split the center spot with JaVale McGee, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. That could be a tough for Cousins to accept, given that he was a premier player prior to rupturing his Achilles two seasons ago, Woike notes. Cousins is thrilled to be reunited with former Pelicans teammate Davis, Youngmisuk writes in a separate story“We realized how much better we made one another and how much we made the game easier for each other. We both appreciate each other’s presence,” Cousins said. “To add LeBron James to the mix, his résumé speaks for itself.”

Contract Details: Magic, Lakers, Pistons, Bulls, More

The free agency deals began a week ago, but the details of those arrangements are slowly trickling in as they become official. Let’s take a look at some contract notes from players around the league:

  • Nikola Vucevic’s four-year, $100MM deal with the Magic will decline by 8% annually, Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights tweets. Vucevic will make roughly $28.4MM in the first year of his front-loaded contract.
  • Terrence Ross‘ four-year, $52MM contract with the Magic will start at $12.5MM, per Siegel. Ross will make $13.5MM during the 2020/21 season, followed by $12.5MM and $11.5MM in the two ensuing years.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu will take home the full non-taxpayer’s mid-level on his deal with the Magic. He’ll make approximately $9.3MM during his first season and approximately $9.7MM and $10.2MM, respectively, over the ensuing two campaigns.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s two year deal with the Lakers is worth approximately $16.6MM in total value. KCP can make roughly $1.2MM in annual incentives on top of that amount, a source tells Siegel (Twitter link). The shooting guard has a player option on the second year of the pact, which also has a 15% trade bonus. Since his deal could be a one-year contract (if he chooses to turn down the player option), Caldwell-Pope has a default no-trade clause.
  • JaVale McGee also has a player option on the final year of his two-year deal with the Lakers, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets. McGee, who will make $8.2MM over the length of his contract, also has the ability to veto a trade.
  • Markieff Morris‘ two-year deal with the Pistons contains a second-year player option, Smith tweets. Morris was signed via the bi-annual exception.
  • Bruno Fernando‘s three-year deal with the Hawks is worth $4.7MM, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. It appears Atlanta will be using cap space to sign the rookie.
  • Tomas Satoransky final season of the three-year, $30MM deal with the Bulls is only guaranteed for $5MM, Fred Katz of The Athletic relays (Twitter link). Chicago brought the point guard to town via sign-and-trade.

Lakers Officially Acquire Anthony Davis In Three-Team Trade

The Lakers, Pelicans, and Wizards have officially completed the three-team trade that makes Anthony Davis a Laker. All three teams issued press releases tonight to announce the deal. The structure of the trade is as follows:

  • Lakers acquire Anthony Davis.
  • Pelicans acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick), the Lakers’ 2021 first-round pick (9-30 protected; unprotected in 2022), the Lakers’ 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), the right to swap 2023 first-round picks with the Lakers, and cash ($1.1MM; from Wizards).
    • Note: The Pelicans will also have the option to defer the 2024 first-round pick to 2025.
  • Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and the Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick.

The long-awaited deal was held up slightly today as the Lakers officially finalized a series of signings using their cap room. In order to maximize its cap space, the club had to sign free agents first before acquiring Davis. Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, and JaVale McGee all signed their contracts with the Lakers since the July moratorium ended this afternoon.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, will now flip the rights to Hunter to the Hawks in a separate deal, putting the No. 4 pick on track to join his new team for Summer League action. Once the deal is done, Atlanta will also be able to complete its trade with the Sixers involving Bruno Fernando and Jordan Bone, then Philadelphia will be able to flip Bone to the Pistons.

For more details on one of the summer’s biggest trades, be sure to check out our previous stories on the Lakers/Pelicans aspect of the deal, as well as the Lakers/Wizards part of the swap.

Lakers Announce Multiple Signings

After a flurry of moves today, the Lakers have made five of them official, tweets Bill Oram of The Athletic.

The team announced the re-signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee, along with the free agent additions of DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook and Danny Green.

Still to come are the signings of Rajon Rondo, Troy Daniels, Jared Dudley and Alex Caruso, along with confirmation of the mega-deal that will bring Anthony Davis from the Pelicans.

Lakers To Re-Sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee

The Lakers continue to act quickly in moving on to their backup plans in free agency after losing out on Kawhi Leonard. Having already reached a deal to sign Danny Green, the Lakers are also on track to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter links).

According to Shelburne, Caldwell-Pope is expected to sign a two-year, $16MM contract to remain in Los Angeles, while the Lakers have agreed to a two-year, $8.2MM deal for McGee.

Caldwell-Pope, who – like teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis – is represented by agent Rich Paul, has spent the last two seasons with the Lakers, averaging 12.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, and 1.1 SPG with a .428/.365/.824 shooting line in 156 games (28.8 MPG). He’ll join Green as the go-to three-and-D options on a roster that had initially been heavy on frontcourt players.

As for McGee, he enjoyed arguably the best season of his 11-year NBA career for the Lakers in 2018/19, averaging 12.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 2.0 BPG in 75 games, including 62 as the club’s starting center.

With Green set to sign a two-year, $30MM contract, the Lakers have now committed more than half of their $32MM in cap space. ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggests (via Twitter) that L.A. will have about $11.5MM in room left after this flurry of deals, while Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter) believes that number could be as high as $14.7MM, depending on how the contracts are structured.

Both of those figures assume that McGee’s contract would come out of the $4.8MM room exception, though the Lakers could theoretically use that exception on another player if McGee is re-signed using cap space.

In addition to signing Green, Caldwell-Pope, and McGee, the Lakers will also add Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels on minimum-salary contracts once their cap room has been exhausted.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rockets Focused On Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee

After missing out on their top summer target when Jimmy Butler opted for Miami, the Rockets are looking at two former Warriors as they fill out their roster, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

With a need for depth at the wing and in the middle, Houston is turning its attention to Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee, according to Feigen. With the moratorium is lifted Saturday, Iguodala will be on his way to Memphis, part of a cost-cutting move that enables Golden State to trade for D’Angelo Russell without exceeding the tax apron.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey may be willing to send next year’s first-round pick to the Grizzlies as part of a package to acquire Iguodala, who will make $17,185,185 in the final year of his contract. Morey could hope for a buyout and try to get Iguodala at a better price, but he would risk losing him to another team, such as the Lakers, where Iguodala’s former agent, Rob Pelinka, serves as GM.

Houston pursued Iguodala when he was a free agent in 2017 and put on “the best recruiting presentation of all time,” a source told ESPN. Iguodala canceled his other meetings and was reportedly ready to sign with the Rockets before Golden State increased its offer.

Feigen notes that if a trade happens, Memphis will have pulled off the rare feat of getting one first-rounder for taking Iguodala and another for letting him go.

The Rockets met with McGee, who played for the Lakers this season, on Sunday in a session that two sources told Feigen “went really well.” Houston’s interest in McGee wasn’t just a hedge against a Clint Capela trade, he adds. The team is looking for more size on its reserve unit and likes McGee as a pick-and-roll partner for James Harden and Chris Paul.

However, the Rockets are limited in what they can offer. McGee may be looking for more than a veteran’s minimum deal, and they will become hard-capped if they use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, leaving them unable to deal for Iguodala or anybody else with a significant salary.

Free Agent Rumors: Dudley, Beverley, McGee, Green

The new-look Nets may be close to bringing back one of their locker room leaders, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Jared Dudley is interested in signing up for another season in Brooklyn, a source tells Scotto.

Dudley, who will turn 34 next month, also contributed on the court in his first season with the Nets, averaging 4.9 PPG in 59 games and shooting 35% from 3-point range. Dudley is also drawing interest from the Pistons and met with Detroit officials today, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).

There’s more free agent news to pass along:

  • The Mavericks’ planned discussion with Patrick Beverley didn’t happen tonight, relays Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), who speculates that it was because of the team’s involvement in a three-way trade with the Heat and Sixers. Townsend adds that the Mavs’ chances of landing Beverley seem less likely than they were earlier.
  • Dallas is optimistic about reaching a deal with restricted free agent Maxi Kleber, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. He cites “productive discussions” between the Mavericks and the power forward/center.
  • JaVale McGee has a meeting set with the Pistons tomorrow, relays Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The free agent center talked to the Rockets today.
  • Danny Green spoke on his Instagram account about meeting with the Mavericks, Lakers and Clippers and Raptors, tweets Blake Murphy of The Athletic. “Being patient, man,” he said of the process. “Being patient.”
  • The Wizards would still like to re-sign Tomas Satoransky, but are looking into other options at point guard, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link). Hughes states that they are interested in Quinn Cook and notes that Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported an inquiry about Cory Joseph.

Rockets To Meet With JaVale McGee

The Rockets’ search for a new big man will include Lakers center JaVale McGee, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Houston officials will meet with McGee today in Los Angeles, along with Warriors center Kevon Looney, as we relayed yesterday.

McGee, 31, averaged a career-best 12.0 PPG for L.A. this season, along with 7.5 rebounds in 75 games. He has also played for the Wizards, Nuggets, Sixers, Mavericks and Warriors.

The Rockets will reportedly move starting center Clint Capela if they can work out a sign-and-trade deal for Sixers free agent Jimmy Butler. Backup Nene opted out of next year’s contract yesterday, leaving no other experienced center on the roster.