JaVale McGee

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kings, Redick, Rivers

Draymond Green played a crucial role in the Warriors’ decision to sign journeyman center JaVale McGee last summer, as Sam Amick of USA Today explains. They share the same agent, B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman, and Green lobbied GM Bob Myers to give McGee a chance. McGee, who appeared in just 62 games over the previous four seasons, signed a contract for less then $1MM and has emerged as a valuable role player. “I didn’t know him that well at all, but you [could] see some of the skills that a guy has and see that, alright that could possibly fit in,” Green told Amick. “Being that he’s super athletic, he offered something that we didn’t have.” McGee will re-enter the free agent market this summer and should be in greater demand.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings have hired Luke Bornn as their VP of Analytics and Strategy, James Ham of NBC Sports California reports. Bornn, 31, was working for soccer’s A.S. Roma. “We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told Ham. Roland Beech, the team’s previous analytics guru, left the organization earlier this week.
  • Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick has gotten off just 13 shots in the first two games of the playoffs, but coach Doc Rivers appreciates his unselfish approach, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Redick has scored 11 points in the series under heavy defensive pressure but the team hopes to get him more involved in Game 3 on Friday, Turner adds. “Sometimes in certain games and series, you have to give yourself up to get the team stuff,” Rivers told the assembled media on Thursday. “J.J. has been terrific with that. He’s going to get his shot eventually.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers will miss Game 3 with a strained left hamstring but remains hopeful of returning for Game 4, Turner reports in a separate story. Rivers has not played the last eight games, including the final six of the regular season.

Pacific Notes: Gay, Joerger, Griffin, Warriors

Rudy Gay will have surgery Monday to fix a torn Achilles tendon, the Kings announced on their website. The procedure will be performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and Gay will be out for the remainder of the season. The injury may affect the free agent market, as Gay had planned to opt out of his $14,263,566 deal for next season.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Garrett Temple has taken Gay’s spot in the starting lineup for now, but long-term decisions may not be made until next month, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. If the Kings continue losing and slip out of the playoff race, coach Dave Joerger may elect to give more minutes to younger players. Rookie guard Malachi Richardson was used in the first half Saturday for the first time all season. “Just be a buncha different dudes running in and out of there,” Joerger said. “Trying to find something that fits as you go through it.”
  • Blake Griffin plans to be ready for the Clippers game Tuesday at Philadelphia, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Griffin has missed 17 games since undergoing minor knee surgery December 20th. “It’s as close as I can be, I think,” Griffin said Saturday. “It was good to get some contact in yesterday. So it’s good to get some like real work in besides just running and shooting. It’s kind of up to them.”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is using seven low-salaried big men in a rotation at center, writes Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury NewsZaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo, Anderson Varejao and Damian Jones are all getting minutes at the position, depending on the matchup.

McGruder, McGee Receive Partial Guarantees

As our schedule of salary guarantee dates shows, four NBA players were originally believed to be on track to receive partial guarantees if they remained under contract through December 1. Two of those players – Briante Weber and Okaro White – were waived by the Heat earlier in the year, but the other two are still on their respective teams’ rosters.

The minimum-salary contract for Rodney McGruder, another member of the Heat, called for his partial guarantee to increase to $400K on Thursday, leaving only about $144K in non-guaranteed money on his deal. The rookie shooting guard has been a regular part of Miami’s rotation so far, averaging 22.9 minutes per game, so he looks like a safe bet to remain on the roster for the season, given his role and his contract situation.

Meanwhile, JaVale McGee‘s minimum-salary contract with the Warriors reportedly called for his partial guarantee to increase from $250K to $500K on Thursday. McGee has only played sparingly for Golden State in the early going, but he has a unique skill set on a Warriors team that lacks a traditional rim-protecting center. That could mean an increased role for him later this season, though his roster spot may not be entirely safe if the team finds a more reliable veteran center via free agency or trade.

So far, there have been no indications that either the Heat or Warriors pushed back their guarantee dates for McGruder or McGee, respectively, so we’ll assume both players received their increased partial guarantees unless we hear otherwise. Their salaries for 2016/17 will become fully guaranteed if they’re still under contract on January 10.

Western Notes: McGee, Lakers, Hill, Harden

Warriors backup center JaVale McGee will be rewarded with increased minutes, according to Monte Pool of CSNBayArea. The well-traveled veteran has impressed coach Steve Kerr with his play of late, maybe enough to form a “center by committee” with Zaza Pachulia and David West. McGee played 15 minutes Thursday in Denver, finishing with 10 points, three rebounds and two blocks. “He earned some extra playing time for sure,” Kerr said. “We’re still going through different combinations, but he earned the opportunity to play some more.” The Warriors signed McGee in September to a training camp deal that offered a minimum salary for one year with no guaranteed money.

There’s more tonight from the Western Conference:

  • Kobe Bryant‘s retirement has been one of the factors in the Lakers‘ early-season success, contends Mitch Lawrence of Forbes. With Bryant gone, the team has gotten rid of its isolation offense and replaced it with a team-oriented approach. Also, the young players who were afraid of getting on Bryant’s bad side now have more freedom to play their games. Lawrence also credits the hiring of coach Luke Walton, who has already impressed the organization with his leadership skills.
  • Anthony Davis has been spectacular for the 1-9 Pelicans, but free agent addition Solomon Hill says the rest of the team needs to step up, relays William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. Hill, who joined the team on a four-year, $48MM contract, is averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. “Everything’s been going towards [Davis], but I think we need to find ways to get everybody else involved,” Hill said. “He’s going to score regardless. You can throw assistant coaches out there on the floor and as long as they get him the ball he’s going to score. We just got to find ways to do it collectively.”
  • Mike D’Antoni is doing his best coaching job with James Harden, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Dempsey says the Rockets’ star, who is averaging 30.0 points and 10.0 assists per night, is the best fit ever for D’Antoni’s up-tempo system.

Warriors Rumors: Durant, Curry, McGee, Jones

Retaining both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant beyond this season could prove difficult for the Warriors under the next CBA agreement, Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com examines in great detail. While the provisions in the new labor deal are unclear, Durant might have to leave money on the table to re-sign with Golden State, or opt in and take the $27.7MM salary in the final year of his two-year contract, in order to keep the Super Team together. As a non-Bird free agent if he opts out, Durant would likely have to take less than the max to stay put because of cap-space constraints, Feldman continues. The amount of cap space available will depend in part on the cap hold for Curry, who will become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and the hold could be significantly greater in the new CBA, Feldman explains. Max salary tiers could also rise, complicating the process even further, Feldman adds.

In other news regarding the Warriors:

  • Coach Steve Kerr wants to give reserve center JaVale McGee increased playing time, Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News reports. McGee sparked the team in his first chance to play rotation minutes against the Nuggets on Thursday, contributing 10 points, three rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes. “We’re looking at the first part of the season as somewhat experimental,” Kerr told Slater and other reporters. “We haven’t really given him a chance yet. You could see he gives us a dimension that we don’t have, throwing it up to the rim for a lob, which provides you extra spacing.” McGee was signed to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract in September. His $1.4MM salary becomes fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster January 10th.
  • Rookie center Damian Jones is expected to join the Warriors’ D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz on November 20th and make his season debut there five days later, according to Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. The late first-round pick underwent surgery in June for a torn right pectoral muscle, which he suffered during a weight-lifting session. He is one of four centers on the NBA roster, along with McGee, Zaza Pachulia and Anderson Varejao, but Jones could spend much of the season in Santa Cruz. “He’s a kid, he’s a rookie, and it takes a while to get to know this league and understand how to be productive,” Kerr told Letorneau .“We’re not being overly hopeful for him to step in and play right away.”

 

Cap Details: Sixers, Heat, Pelicans, Warriors

With regular-season rosters now set, Bobby Marks of The Vertical and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders have been working hard to update details for recent signings, cuts, guarantee dates, and other aspects of the salary cap. Listed below are a few of their latest reports, which we’ve included in our latest updates of our own 2016/17 salary cap snapshots. Let’s dive in…

  • Dionte Christmas recently signed a contract with the Sixers that allowed the team to secure his D-League rights. Although he was waived almost immediately after signing that deal, Christmas landed a $50K guarantee from Philadelphia, per Marks and Pincus.
  • Filling in the blanks on a summer trade, Pincus tweets that the Heat sent $400K to the Pelicans in the deal that saw Luke Babbitt land in Miami.
  • According to both Marks and Pincus, the following players received increased guarantees for surviving preseason roster cuts: Dorian Finney-Smith (Mavericks) now has a $150K guarantee, Rodney McGruder (Heat) has a $300K guarantee, and John Jenkins (Suns) has a fully guaranteed $1.051MM salary.
  • Meanwhile, both Marks and Pincus now list Joffrey Lauvergne‘s $1.71MM salary with the Thunder as fully guaranteed. It was previously believed to be partially guaranteed.
  • According to Marks, Matt Costello got $31.5K guaranteed from the Grizzlies, Lamar Patterson received a $100K guarantee from the Kings, and JaVale McGee has a $250K partial guarantee from the Warriors. Marks indicates that McGee’s guarantee will increase to $500K if he’s still under contract through December 1.

Western Notes: Stephenson, Goodwin, McGee

Lance Stephenson hung on to snag the Pelicans‘ final regular season roster spot, beating out Alonzo Gee, despite the fact that Gee had a fully guaranteed pact. Stephenson says his aim this season is to rebuild his reputation around the league, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. ”My goal is to prove everybody wrong this year – work hard and show a different side of me,” Stephenson said. “Everybody got this expectation of me, I just want to show them a different side of me. I love the game, I just want to play ball. I can show that what I was doing for the Pacers, I can still do it. I just got to have an opportunity to be put in a position where I can do that.

Stephenson also noted that he’s made a determined effort to get to know his Pelicans teammates and bond with them, something he hasn’t always done in the past, Reid adds. ”Teams that I’ve been on, I really didn’t [talk] to my teammates, I talked to them a little bit but,” Stephenson said. ”But this time, I was really, ‘Hi are you doing to today, what you do yesterday’ and stuff like that. It’s like being a rookie again, everybody got this image of me that’s a straight lie.”

Here’s more from out West:

  • The Suns were trying to trade Archie Goodwin, who was waived on Monday, but when they were unable to find a taker, the team was forced to release him in order to pare its roster down for the regular season, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports.
  • JaVale McGee is overjoyed at landing the 15th and final roster spot on the Warriors to start the regular season, Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com relays. “I’m just happy, blessed, to have this chance,” McGee told Poole. “I’m starting to figure out what the coaches want from me, and I’m starting to execute it. Everything is going well.
  • The Clippers are still trying to fill their void at small forward, which has been a weak spot on the team for the past few seasons, Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times writes. Luc Mbah a Moute, Wesley Johnson and Alan Anderson are all competing for the starting job, but none of them has heard much from coach Doc Rivers about who will get the bulk of the minutes at the position, Turner adds.

Warriors Make Three Cuts, Retain JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee appears to have earned a spot on the Warriors’ regular season roster, having survived the cut down to 15 players. Golden State announced three cuts today, tweeting that the team has parted ways with Elliot Williams, Phil Pressey, and Cameron Jones. The moves reduce the club’s roster count from 18 players to the regular season limit of 15.

Unlike McGee, whose deal with the Warriors is fully non-guaranteed, Williams, Pressey, and Jones all had partial guarantees on their contracts. Pressey’s $35K guarantee and Jones’ $50K guarantee were modest, and suggest they could end up landing with the Santa Cruz Warriors in the D-League. However, Williams, a veteran guard, got $250K guaranteed and was no lock to be cut.

With 14 players on guaranteed salaries, the Warriors have a little flexibility with that 15th roster spot. McGee’s salary for the season won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10, so the club could cut him before then and only be on the hook for a prorated portion of his contract. For now though, it seems the Dubs will hang onto the eight-year veteran and give him a chance to compete for minutes.

You can check out the Warriors’ full cap breakdown for 2016/17 right here.

Western Notes: Gasol, Lawson, Dekker, McGee

With Donatas Motiejunas still unsigned after the forward let his qualifying offer expire on October 1st, second-year player Sam Dekker is likely to receive extended playing time at power forward for the Rockets, Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com writes. “I’m just worried about making plays on both ends of the court in any way that I can contribute, and if it’s at the 4, then so be it,” Dekker said. “I know I have a skill set that can play many positions. I’m embracing it, embracing that it will be my role this year. It’s a long season. Things can change, but if right now if [coach Mike D’Antoni] wants me at the backup 4, then I’m going to do that and play my hardest.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale told the media today that an MRI taken on Marc Gasol‘s right foot revealed a bone bruise, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. The coach noted that the bone bruise is not in the navicular bone, which Gasol had surgically repaired after breaking last season, and that he expects the center to be “just fine” for the season opener, the scribe adds.
  • According to Kings coach Dave Joerger, there was no incident with point guard Ty Lawson, who missed a flight to Saturday’s game in Kentucky, James Ham of CSNBayArea.com tweets. Despite a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein that stated the team was upset with Lawson, Joerger said that the point guard will remain a member of the Kings, Ham adds.
  • Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said center JaVale McGee has a “good chance” of making the team’s regular season roster, Anthony Slater of The Mercury News relays. McGee is signed to a one-year, minimum salary deal with no guaranteed money.
  • The Lakers still have two roster cuts to make in order to reach the regular season maximum of 15 players. Coach Luke Walton is still undecided on who will stay and who will go, telling Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) that he has “no idea” who he’s going to waive just yet. The three players who are likely on the bubble are Metta World Peace, Yi Jianlian and Thomas Robinson.

Contract Details: Warriors, Nuggets, Celtics, Pistons

Teams signing players to training camp deals in the hopes that those players will eventually land with their D-League affiliates often incentivize their offers by including partial guarantees. That appears to be the case with the Warriors — as we noted earlier today, Golden State awarded $50K guarantees to Cameron Jones, Scott Wood, and Elgin Cook, who all seem like good bets to end up with Santa Cruz. Given how modest D-League salaries are, that extra guaranteed money can motivate players to accept D-League assignments rather than seeking more lucrative jobs overseas.

According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), another Warriors camp invitee, Phil Pressey, also received a small guarantee, worth $35K. However, JaVale McGee‘s contract with the team is fully non-guaranteed. Of course, McGee seems more likely to earn a spot on Golden State’s regular-season roster than many of his fellow camp invitees, in which case he’d have an opportunity to earn his full $1.4MM+ salary.

Here are a few more salary details from around the NBA, via Pincus:

  • According to Pincus’ salary information, the Nuggets signed Robbie Hummel and Jarnell Stokes to two-year, minimum-salary contracts, while Nate Wolters got a three-year, minimum-salary deal. Hummel and Stokes received guarantees worth $150K apiece, while Wolters received $50K in guaranteed money.
  • The Celtics signed Damion Lee to a two-year, minimum-salary contract that features $50K in guaranteed money, while Jalen Jones got a one-year deal with a $25K guarantee, per Pincus (Twitter link).
  • The one-year, minimum-salary deals Nikola Jovanovic and Trey Freeman inked with the Pistons are both worth about $543K, the rookie minimum. However, Jovanovic got a $30K guarantee from the team, while Freeman’s deal is fully non-guaranteed, Pincus notes.
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