JaVale McGee

Pacific Notes: Ball, Durant, McGee

The Lakers have no intention of taking Lonzo Ball out of the starting lineup anytime soon, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. The rookie guard has struggled mightily with his jump shot over the course of his first month in the league but the franchise remains committed to his development.

He’s our starting point guard,” Lakers head coach Luke Walton said. “So there’s no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He’s our starting point guard.

The much hyped Lakers point guard – who cut his hair earlier today(!) – has averaged 9.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game so far this season but is just .303 from the field and .230 from beyond the arc.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division today:

  • Among several excellent aspects of an interview with Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Warriors forward Kevin Durant spoke candidly about the Thunder and their move from Seattle to Oklahoma City. An under reported asset that the Bay Area offered Durant in free agency is a similarity to the Pacific Northwest town in which he broke into the league. “To be part of a franchise moving, no player, especially a rookie, expects that,” Durant said. “I didn’t even think that was in the cards. Obviously, I wasn’t in on the deal, nobody asked me any questions. So as long as we got to play somewhere, it was cool with me. I was 19, I didn’t know the effect a team moving had on fans or a city. As I got older, I realized how huge a team leaving a city is, how devastating that must have been for the fans. Every time we’d go to the West Coast, we’d see Seattle jerseys and you’d start to realize that was a huge, huge part of people’s lives.
  • A solid debut with his new franchise could boost Greg Monroe‘s trade value, Cody Cunningham of Phoenix’s official team site writes. The big man dropped 20 and 11 in his first game for the Suns since coming over alongside draft picks in the Eric Bledsoe trade.
  • The Warriors haven’t been featuring JaVale McGee heavily in their regular rotation, opting to play him only if matchups call for his length and athleticism. “You definitely have to humble yourself a little bit, just because we’re competitors. We want to play,” McGee told Mark Medina of The Mercury News. “But you can’t complain on a winning team. I understand if we were losing and I’m thinking, ‘I can help.’ But we’re a part of a winning system.”

Pacific Notes: Ingram, McGee, Deng

Could Brandon Ingram be the next great Lakers closer? Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register thinks so. On a roster filled with promising young player and role-playing veterans, Ingram could be uniquely qualified to step into the role that Kobe Bryant vacated in 2016.

He definitely has the ability and confidence to make those kind of plays,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Ingram. “He definitely wants it. One hundred percent he wants it. Some people, they say they want it. But in their eyes you can tell they’re just saying it because they’re supposed to say it. Brandon, he truly wants those types of moments.

Teaford cites Ingram’s role in the Lakers’ recent comeback victory against the Wizards, chipping in with 11 points in the fourth quarter and tapping in the game-tying bucket at the end of regulation.

In four games as a Lakers sophomore, Ingram has averaged 15.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite his emergence as a valued rotation piece for the Warriors last season, JaVale McGee has been used sparingly thus far in 2017/18. Anthony Slater of The Athletic caught up with the center about his usage. “I don’t feel like I’ve been struggling the first few games,” McGee said. “I haven’t really played a lot, so there’s really no room to struggle. But even from last year, I don’t play a lot during games that go small. All I can really do is work on the things that keep me from playing a lot.
  • In a preview of what could be their backcourt of the future, Kings fans saw Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox connecting in the final minutes of their loss to the Pelicans Thursday. “I can talk to him and tell him about the mistakes I made,” Bogdanovic told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee. “And hope he can learn without having to make those mistakes.”
  • Having seen just 13 minutes of action so far this season, it’s safe to say that Luol Deng is at the bottom of the Lakers‘ depth chart. An ESPN report states that the veteran will likely continue to draw DNP-CDs.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Ball, Warriors, Jordan

The decision to remove DeMarcus Cousins from the equation has brought a sense of happiness and hope around the moribund Kings franchise, Nick Zappulla of RealGM opines. The pieces are now in place for a quick turnaround via the acquisition of Buddy Hield in the trade with the Pelicans along with four promising rookies taken in the draft, particularly floor leader De’Aaron Fox and forward Harry Giles, Zappulla continues. Big men Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein showed progress once Cousins was removed from the picture and the club also brought in three veteran free agents to facilitate the development of the young players, Zappulla adds.

In other items regarding the Pacific Division:

  • The league’s television partners certainly have Lonzo Ball fever, as evidenced by the Lakers’ 35 nationally-televised games next season, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register notes. That’s the fifth-most national broadcasts among all teams despite the franchise coming off a 26-win season. Much of it can be attributed to lottery pick Ball, both for his passing skills and the hype-man routine of his father LaVar, Oram adds.
  • The Warriors’ center rotation is unlikely to change next season despite the presence of some promising young players at the back end, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Zaza Pachulia will continue to start with JaVale McGee backing him up and David West getting minutes there at the start of second quarters, according to Slater. Damian Jones, who was inconsistent in summer-league play, or rookie Jordan Bell could force their way into the rotation at some point, Slater adds.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan realizes the Clippers won’t be the same team without Chris Paul, but expects point guard additions Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic to keep the franchise among the best in the West, Jovan Buha of ESPN.com reports. “Those guys are going to come in and play their style of basketball, and it’s going to be fun,” Jordan told Buha.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, as Carmelo Anthony made use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. For much of the offseason, Anthony was focused on joining the Rockets, but he eventually agreed to a deal that sent him to Oklahoma City.

Anthony is one of just two NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents have signed their QOs so far this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Warriors Re-Sign JaVale McGee

AUGUST 1: The Warriors have issued a press release officially announcing their new deal with McGee.

JULY 27: The Warriors have reached an agreement with JaVale McGee to bring the center back to Golden State, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports. The deal will be for one season, though the salary details have not yet trickled out.

Retaining McGee will likely be the franchise’s last significant move after it was able to bring back nearly every piece of its latest championship team. Golden State now has 15 players with guaranteed deals on the books.

McGee excelled as a role player for the Warriors last season, shooting a career-best 65.2% from the field and sporting an electric 25.2 player efficiency rating. In addition to Golden State, the center spent time in Denver, Philadelphia, and Dallas since being selected by Washington with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

While McGee could earn up to 120% of the minimum salary via his Non-Bird rights, another minimum deal appears likely. It won’t come cheap for the Warriors, who are deep into tax territory and will pay at least $2.50 per dollar in tax penalties on McGee’s new deal.

JaVale McGee To Meet With Kings

Free agent center JaVale McGee continues to look for a new home and has lined up a meeting with the Kings for Thursday, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Sacramento has already been active during the free agent period, striking deals to sign George Hill and Zach Randolph. However, the Kings still have some cap room left over, creating the flexibility to outbid rival suitors for McGee if they so choose.

The Kings’ frontcourt currently includes Randolph, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, Kosta Koufos, Skal Labissiere, and – when he gets healthy – Harry Giles. There’s no shortage of options there, but many are young, developing players, so if McGee were to sign in Sacramento, he’d likely have an opportunity to take on a bigger role than he had in Golden State.

A nine-year NBA veteran, McGee played a career-low 9.6 minutes per game for the Warriors last year, but his per-minute production skyrocketed in Golden State. The veteran center averaged a career-high 23.0 points per 36 minutes, and his .652 FG% was also easily the best of his career.

McGee has received interest so far from the Warriors and Clippers, so it appears he’s a good bet to stay out west.

JaVale McGee To Meet With Clippers

Free agent center JaVale McGee has a meeting lined up with the Clippers on Wednesday, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter). Wojnarowski also reported previously that L.A. has scheduled a meeting with free agent point Derrick Rose for today.

A nine-year NBA veteran, McGee played a career-low 9.6 minutes per game for the Warriors last year, but his per-minute production skyrocketed in Golden State. The veteran center averaged a career-high 23.0 points per 36 minutes, and his .652 FG% was also easily the best of his career.

The Warriors have been busy since the free agent period began, striking deals to bring back key free agents like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and David West. There hasn’t been much chatter about McGee’s status, but Wojnarowski says the 29-year-old has remained engaged with the Dubs on the possibility of a return.

Like the Warriors, the Clippers are over the cap, so they could offer McGee either a minimum salary deal or part or all of their mid-level exception. The Clips’ MLE could be worth up to $5.192MM if they want to avoid a hard cap, or up to $8.406MM if they’re comfortable with being hard-capped for a second consecutive year. L.A. was the only NBA team to use its bi-annual exception a year ago, so it’s not available this time around.

The Clippers’ frontcourt is getting a little crowded, with the club already having agreed to re-sign Blake Griffin to rejoin DeAndre Jordan in the starting lineup. L.A. also added Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell and agreed to a sign-and-trade for Danilo Gallinari. Still, that group doesn’t include a big, rim-protecting backup for Jordan, so there could be a role for McGee with the franchise.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Clippers, Russell, McGee

As free agency nears, the Lakers may avoid signing players to contracts that extend past 2017/18 for fear of eating into potential Paul George cap space, Justin J. Page of ESPN writes. The club is currently expected to have $18MM to work with this summer and potentially over $40MM next summer, depending on the status of Julius Randle.

Considering that the key here would be to retain flexibility to make a move for George when he officially hits free agency in 2018, the Lakers could zero in on players with one-year deals when the 2017 free agency period begins next week. Los Angeles could justifiably overpay for players in 2017/18 so long as they come with team options for anything beyond that.

Page also writes that fans can expect the franchise to continue shedding as much salary as possible, the primary target being Luol Deng and the $54MM remaining over the course of the last three years of his deal.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

Warriors Rumors: Free Agents, Iguodala, Livingston

It has been less than four full days since the Warriors won Game 5 of the NBA Finals and captured their second title in three years, but fans and observers are already looking ahead to see how Golden State intends to keep its championship roster together. Tim Kawakami of The San Jose Mercury News takes a deep dive into that subject today, breaking down the Warriors’ salary cap options and providing a handful of insider tidbits as well. Let’s round up the highlights…

  • Multiple NBA sources have told Kawakami that it’s all about the Warriors’ Big Four and Andre Iguodala, suggesting that the team won’t break the bank for anyone else on the roster. That includes free-agents-to-be like Zaza Pachulia, David West, Ian Clark, and JaVale McGee.
  • Out of that group of the Warriors’ top five players, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Iguodala are all eligible to become free agents. Kawakami expects Curry to receive a five-year, super-max deal worth upwards of $205MM, while Durant appears willing to accept a 20% raise rather than the full max, allowing the club to stay over the cap to re-sign Iguodala and possibly others.
  • Assuming Durant settles for a 20% raise, look for Iguodala to sign a multiyear deal worth between $8MM and $12MM annually, says Kawakami. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has suggested he expects to re-sign with Golden State and that negotiations are almost done. If another team swoops in with a massive offer, it’s possible Iguodala reconsiders his options, but at that this point, the main question appears to be how many years will be on his new Warriors contract.
  • Shaun Livingston‘s situation is “much more open-ended,” with Kawakami pegging the odds of the point guard’s return as a coin flip. Kawakami speculates that a one- or two-year deal worth $6-7MM per year would be feasible for the Warriors, but Livingston will likely do better than that on the open market.
  • As Kawakami points out, it’s worth keeping an eye on the tax apron, which is projected to be around $127MM for 2017/18. If a team wants to use its full mid-level exception and/or bi-annual exception, it can’t exceed the apron at any point during the league year. If the Warriors go over that number, they’ll be limited to the taxpayer MLE – worth about $5.2MM – and minimum salary contracts for any additional signings.

NBA Finals Notes: Warriors Centers, Williams, Kerr

After being forced to unload Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli to create enough cap room to sign Kevin Durant, the Warriors were able to put together a competent center rotation for $4.9MM, writes Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated. Golden State devoted seven roster spots to the center position after adding Durant, with Zaza Pachulia, David West and JaVale McGee earning most of the playing time. All three signed one-year deals last offseason and will be free agents again this summer, as will James Michael McAdoo, who also saw playing time in Game 1.

There’s more this morning from the NBA Finals:

  • After six seasons of bouncing around the league on bad teams, Derrick Williams is enjoying his chance to play for a championship, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, Williams spent a little more than two seasons with the Timberwolves before being traded to the Kings. He played for the Knicks in 2015/16, then signed with the Heat last summer. He joined the Cavaliers after being waived in February. “That’s the thing, you’re learning from other greats, All-Stars on this team,” said Williams, who turned 26 last week. “The difference between this organization and others I’ve played in is we know which direction we’re going in. We know what the goal is each and every year, coming back individually better, playing together as a team, getting better as a team.”
  • Even with their convincing win in the opener, the Warriors miss having Steve Kerr on their bench, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Kerr, who is dealing with chronic pain from back surgery in 2015, is considering a return for tonight’s Game 2. “We miss his voice, obviously,” Klay Thompson said. “His knowledge of the game is incredible. Just his demeanour — he has such a calming demeanour. No moment is too big for him. And he just knows how to keep us in line, keep us focused. So does [interim coach] Mike Brown. Mike is doing a great job. But we definitely miss Steve.”
  • Adam Silver talked about the need for parity when he took over as commissioner, but he is presiding over his third straight Cavaliers-Warriors Finals matchup, notes Paul Flannery of SB Nation. It’s also the seventh straight year that LeBron James has been in the Finals, which raises questions about the NBA’s long-term popularity if it remains dominated by a few teams. “From a league standpoint, you always want to see great competition,” Silver said. “It’s what our fans want to see. It’s what we provide in this league. But having said that, this is real life. It’s not scripted, and it happens. So, sure, the fan in me would love to see more competition at times, but on the other hand, I’ve said it before, I think we should also celebrate excellence.”
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