Jeff Green

Southeast Notes: Heat, Green, Bass

There have been no shortage of players who’ve stepped up for the Heat over the course of the past two seasons but at the end of the day, the club may need Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow to settle into roles as rotation players, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes.

While Richardson and Winslow make for intriguing complementary players, the club may benefit most by channeling its offense through some combination of Dion Waiters, Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside.

Richardson averaged 12.9 points per game for the Heat as a 24-year-old last season and Winslow chipped in with 7.8 points per game of his own.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • What exactly should teams look for with their 15th roster spot? Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores what the Heat have done with the spot in the past and what they should do with presently unsigned veteran Udonis Haslem as the season approaches.
  • The move to Washington will reunite recently signed Wizards forward Jeff Green with head coach Scott Brooks. Green spoke with Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington about his relationship with the man he played for during a rookie season with the Seattle SuperSonics.
  • In a feature celebrating the life of former Hornets general manager Bob Bass, who passed away on Friday, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer calls the old school executive the most impactful that the city has had.

Wizards Notes: Howard, Chiozza, Green, Wall

Dwight Howard plans on retiring with the Wizards and believes he’s got a long way to go before the end of his career, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Howard was signed to a two-year deal worth approximately $11MM after being bought out by the Nets, who traded with the Hornets for his contract in a salary dump. Howard said during a press conference he anticipates playing “the rest of my career” with Washington. Howard, 32, also doesn’t see the finish line in sight. “For me, I plan on playing this game for another good eight years,” he said.

In other news regarding the Wizards:

  • Guard Chris Chiozza, who played on the Wizards’ summer-league team, was one of the top undrafted rookies in Las Vegas, according to Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.  He averaged 7.4 APG and his assist percentage (40.1) was the second-best among all qualified rookies. The 6-foot Chiozza, who played four collegiate seasons at Florida, remains unsigned.
  • Free agent signee Jeff Green believes the Wizards can make a run similar to the Cavaliers’ trip to the Finals last season, Hughes reports in another story. Green, a rotation player in Cleveland last season, signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with Washington. “Getting to the Finals and being part of that was beyond amazing,” he said. “With the experience and seeing what it took, I can bring that here and get everybody on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point.”
  • Point guard John Wall said the Wizards have had a “pretty interesting” summer and feels Howard still has something left in the tank, he told Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington in a podcast. “Even though [Howard] is older, he’s still an athletic big averaging 16  and 12,” Wall said. “Not only do you get more layups, probably, you get more wide-open threes.”

Wizards Notes: Rivers, Howard, Green, Bryant

It was already common knowledge that the NBA’s Western Conference has long been stronger than the Eastern Conference. Critics continue to call for a conference realignment even when the odds of it happening are slim to none.

But now that the game’s best player has moved from the East to the West, the gap has widened even more, leaving many Eastern Conference players, including newly acquired Wizards’ guard Austin Rivers, more confident in their team’s chances to make a run at the NBA Finals, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“This training camp, this season is just gonna be a different type of mindset,” Rivers said. “[Before] you would play and you know you’re going to run into Golden State. Here, in the East, it’s really like everybody can get there. You can go to the Finals or the conference finals if you’re a playoff-caliber team, which this team is. 

I think that puts a different confidence, focus and energy on a team. I think that will probably be a focal point in training camp, I’m sure the coaches and everyone will say this is something we need to take advantage of.” 

Per Hughes, Rivers did acknowledge that the Celtics are probably the favorites now, having been Eastern Conference runners-up the last two seasons despite missing two of their best players during the 2017/18 playoffs. But, Rivers is excited to see what he and his new teammates are capable of after falling short in the playoffs in four of the last five seasons.

There’s more out of the D.C. area tonight:

  • Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Wizards’ reported free agent signings of veterans Jeff Green and Dwight Howard. Woo gives both signings a “B” grade, calling both moves thrifty and low-risk due in large part to the one-year length of both deals.
  • In another piece for NBC Sports Washington, Hughes gives his own analysis of the Howard signing, agreeing that the move is low-risk, high-reward. Hughes writes that Howard gives Washington an upgrade from last season at center and that he should be at his best surrounded by three-point shooters like Otto Porter and Bradley Beal.
  • In another, albeit more under-the-radar move we relayed earlier this week, the Wizards claimed promising young big man Thomas Bryant off waivers from the Lakers after he was cut to increase L.A.’s cap room.

Wizards Sign Jeff Green

JULY 10: The signing is now official, the club confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 3: The Wizards have agreed to a deal with free agent forward Jeff Green, reports TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). A source tells Aldridge that Green is signing a one-year, minimum salary contract with Washington.

Green, 31, spent the 2017/18 season in Cleveland, averaging 10.8 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 78 games for the Cavaliers.

The Cavs reportedly had interest in retaining Green, but he’ll head to D.C., where the Wizards figure to slot him into a similar role to the one Mike Scott had last year off the bench. Scott agreed to a free agent deal with the Clippers on Monday.

Because he has at least 10 years of NBA experience, Green will qualify for the highest possible minimum salary, at $2,393,887. However, the former fifth overall pick will only against Washington’s cap for $1,512,601.

Even after agreeing to sign Green and claiming Thomas Bryant off waivers, the Wizards likely aren’t done addressing their frontcourt. Having sent Marcin Gortat to the Clippers last week, Washington only has Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, and Bryant at center.

The Wizards likely won’t have their full mid-level exception available, since they project to be over the tax line, but the team still has the taxpayer’s MLE ($5.337MM) if needed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Neto, Wizards, J. Green, Parker

The Jazz, who have reached an agreement with Derrick Favors and are hoping to re-sign a couple other key free agents, met with point guard Raul Neto on Monday, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). Utah has expressed interest in bringing back RFA point guards Neto and Dante Exum.

With Favors returning, Thabo Sefolosha‘s salary guaranteed for 2018/19, and Grayson Allen now locked up to his rookie contract, the Jazz have 10 players on guaranteed deals so far for next season. If the club intends to keep its remaining three non-guaranteed players – Ekpe Udoh, Jonas Jerebko, and Royce O’Neale – that would leave just two open roster spots for Exum and Neto. I would guess that with Favors back, Udoh isn’t a lock to be retained, but we’ll see what the Jazz have in mind in the coming days.

Here are a few more free agent notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • After losing Mike Scott to the Clippers, the Wizards are on the lookout for frontcourt help and have been in touch with free agent forward Jeff Green, reports TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link).
  • A report from French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to Amico Hoops) suggests that Tony Parker isn’t necessarily a lock to return to the Spurs, with the Nuggets and Hornets among the “five or six” teams that could make a play for the veteran point guard.
  • While Marcus Smart‘s free agency could linger due to his restricted status, retaining him remains the Celtics‘ top offseason priority, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.
  • Former fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson didn’t play in the NBA last season, but he’s receiving some interest from teams this offseason, per Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. Kennedy tweets that the Bucks, Clippers, Wizards, and Suns have all expressed some level of interest in the veteran power forward.

Timberwolves Eyeing Nick Young, Other Free Agents

4:06pm: Wolfson adds Jeff Green, Malcolm Delaney, and Treveon Graham to the list of free agents that the Timberwolves have inquired on so far (Twitter link).

12:15pm: The Timberwolves have interest in Nick Young among several other free agents, according to ESPN’s Darren Wolfson (Twitter link).

Young is coming off a down year in Golden State where he sported just a 10.0 player efficiency rating and scored just 7.3 points per game. It’s hard to envision the shooting guard surpassing the $5.19MM salary he received with the Warriors last season after floundering alongside the best supporting cast he’s ever played with.

Minnesota has the non-tax mid-level ($8.6MM) and the bi-annual ($3.4MM) at its disposal. However, with approximately $115MM already on the books, the team must be careful when handing out deals if it intends to stay below the luxury tax line. If a team uses its bi-annual exception or more than the taxpayer portion of its MLE, it becomes hard-capped for the season.

Dante Cunningham and James Ennis are among other free agents the Wolves are keeping an eye on, Wolfson adds. Lance Stephenson remains a possibility for one of the team’s five open roster spots. Minnesota is among the teams expected to have interest in the mercurial shooting guard once the first wave of free agents sign.

Other candidates for the team’s openings include Trevor Booker, Amir Johnson, Jabari Bird and Anthony Tolliver. Coach/executive Tom Thibodeau reportedly has spoken with Tolliver and team values the power forward’s lockerroom presence.

Cavs Plan To Keep Love If James Leaves

The Cavaliers do not plan to trade Kevin Love if they lose LeBron James in free agency this summer, according to Joe Vardon of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Cleveland intends to remain a playoff contender rather than go through a total rebuild if James signs elsewhere once he becomes an unrestricted free agent on Sunday, Vardon continues. The caveat is that no one on the roster is untouchable should James decide to stay.

Love would end up being more of a focal point in Cleveland’s offensive scheme without James. Prior to being traded to the Cavaliers after James left the Heat to return to his hometown team in 2014, Love posted big numbers with the Timberwolves. He averaged 26.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 4.4 APG in his last season there in 2013/14.

Love has two years remaining on his contract, though the final year includes a player option. He’s due approximately $24.1MM next season and $25.6MM in 2019/20. Love averaged 17.6 PPG and 9.3 RPG last season but was forced to the sidelines for 23 games due to a broken hand.

The Cavaliers are also interested in re-signing free agent Jeff Green and could offer him their $5,291,918 taxpayer mid-level exception, Vardon adds. Green was a solid role player while making the veteran’s minimum last season, averaging 10.8 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 78 games.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Cleveland Cavaliers

The 2017/18 season was an exhausting one for the Cavaliers and it ended the only way it possibly could: in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Warriors. While LeBron James put forth an historically impressive showing this year, the squad just wasn’t nearly deep enough to put another dent in Golden State’s dynasty.

The biggest story in Cleveland this summer will obviously be James’ forthcoming free agency. It’s no secret that the 33-year-old will have multiple realistic options to mull over this summer and the Cavaliers will have little choice but to wait and see what he decides before they set out with the rest of their plans.

To general manager Koby Altman‘s credit, the franchise was impressively proactive at the trade deadline, adding several players who could be a part of a rebuild for years to come. And to team owner Dan Gilbert‘s credit, he promoted Altman, a general manager he wanted, when there was pressure from James’ camp to retain David Griffin.

Expect the Cavs to welcome James back (and all the ensuing baggage) if the future Hall-of-Famer decides in earnest to end his career where it started, but my read of the situation is that Gilbert and company won’t exactly grovel if the King starts leaning toward taking his talents elsewhere.

Jose Calderon, PG, 36 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to imagine Calderon signing on for anything more than the veteran’s minimum at this stage in his career, but a solid enough 2017/18 campaign in which he started 32 games for the Cavaliers should be enough to earn him another contract. The Cavs won’t have much use for the 36-year-old if they blow things up, so expect any decision regarding Calderon to come a little later in free agency.

Jeff Green, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2MM deal in 2017
It’s hard to gauge Green’s value considering he went from making $15MM in 2016/17 to the league minimum in 2017/18. Still, there’s no denying he was a bargain for the Cavaliers at just over $2MM. Despite a limited ceiling, Green is a solid role player and could be an affordable depth piece for a competitive team in Cleveland or elsewhere.

Rodney Hood, SG, 25 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $6MM deal in 2014
Less than a year ago, Hood was in line to take over scoring duties for the suddenly Gordon Hayward-less Jazz. The swingman showed on a number of occasions in the first half of 2017/18 that he was capable of being a semi-reliable primary option on offense, but injuries and the rise of Donovan Mitchell complicated the restricted free agent’s big contract year. A slow start in Cleveland, coupled with a lousy postseason and one particularly bad decision will limit his value even further. That said, if Hood draws an offer sheet in the $10MM-$14MM range this offseason, he could end up being a bargain.

LeBron James, PF, 33 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $100MM deal in 2016
Despite rampant speculation about James’ upcoming free agency, there’s no clear indication about what the superstar will do. The growing narrative is that James doesn’t have the supporting cast to compete with the likes of the superteams around him. While I’ll submit that he and his representation are partly to blame considering their insistence on leveraging James in order to land players like Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith albatross contracts, there’s no denying that the Cavs’ roster looked empirically overwhelmed by the vastly deeper Warriors in the NBA Finals.

James, who looks more formidable than ever now as a 33-year-old, will earn every single penny available to him wherever he signs, but while there will be considerably more pennies available to him if he stays in Cleveland, it’s hard to imagine that somebody with a net worth of $400MM will base his decision entirely on wealth. Narrowing down where the King might land, then, comes down to figuring out his motives. If James wants to win rings he could either sign with the Sixers or squeeze his way onto the Rockets. If he wants to set himself up for life after basketball he should probably pack up the family and head over to join the Lakers. Of course, if James wants to preserve his uniquely complicated legacy, he should think long and hard about staying in Cleveland.

Kendrick Perkins, 33, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year deal in 2018
The Cavaliers added Perkins to their big league roster in the waning days of the regular season, but seem unlikely to pick up his option for 2018/19. While the veteran was brought on to provide an additional veteran voice in the locker room, his only notable feat in the postseason was getting into sideline altercation with Stephen Curry and Drake. Perkins is relatively young to be a symbolic elder statesmen, so there’s always the possibility that he signs on with another contender in a similar enforcer-turned-unofficial coach role, but don’t forget that he’s only seen action in one NBA contest since the 2015/16 season. His career could just as easily be over.

East Finals Roundup: LeBron, Tatum, J. Green

While LeBron James‘ upcoming free agency will be the biggest storyline of the NBA offseason, James himself has avoided discussing his future all season long, and the Cavaliers – including owner Dan Gilbert – are following suit. After the Cavs’ Game 7 win over the Celtics on Sunday night, Gilbert told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that the organization is completely locked in on its next series, not on the summer.

“We’re just focused – and it’s the truth, it’s not avoiding the question – we’re literally focused on (the now),” Gilbert said. “It’s just so intense in the playoffs and getting to the Finals and now the Finals, I don’t think – and I know he doesn’t – I don’t think even our guys are talking (about anything other than) what’s in front of them. … So, everybody knows, obviously what we want to happen and we’ll take the Finals first and take it from there.”

While the Cavaliers will head into the Finals as the underdogs, pulling off the upset could have a major impact on the club’s upcoming offseason plans — it would be hard for James to leave Cleveland right after leading the Cavs to another championship.

Here are a few more items worth rounding up from the Eastern Conference Finals:

  • Jayson Tatum couldn’t lead the Celtics to the NBA Finals, but he received plenty of praise from James as his impressive rookie season came to an end, per Chris Forsberg of ESPN. “I just love everything about (Tatum), the way he plays the game, his demeanor, where he comes from,” James said. “I just know he’s built for stardom. He’s built for success. And that’s both on and off the floor.”
  • James was also complimentary of the Cavaliers teammates who are headed to the Finals despite hearing for weeks that they weren’t doing enough to help LeBron. “I know I get a lot of the headlines – win, lose or draw, whatever the case may be – but in order to be successful, it’s a team game,” James told ESPN’s Doris Burke after the Game 7 win (link via Andrew Joseph of USA Today). “That’s why we’re going to another Finals — because my teammates played a hell of a game.”
  • One of those teammates, Jeff Green, spoke after the game about not taking anything for granted after undergoing open-heart surgery in 2012. Jeff Zilgitt and AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today have the story on Green, who was the Cavaliers‘ second-best player in Game 7.
  • Their disappointing Game 7 performances will likely haunt Celtics youngsters Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown for a while, but that may not be the worst thing in the world, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, who writes that this year’s loss can be a learning experience for Rozier and Brown as they continue to develop.

Cavs Notes: James, Love, Green

The Cavaliers are set to face the Celtics in Boston tonight in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, setting the stage for the victor to advance to the NBA Finals. This is not unfamiliar territory for LeBron James, who has almost single-handedly willed the Cavaliers to this juncture, looking to advance to his eighth straight NBA Finals.

As both teams prepare for tipoff, this scenario is eerily similar to one James encountered eight years ago when the Cavaliers traveled to Boston for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press writes. James posted a triple-double in a losing effort and then weeks later, made the decision to leave Cleveland in free agency. A lot has been made of James’ upcoming free agency and whether or not he bolts this summer, but his teammates feel another trip to the NBA Finals is possible.

“There’s something different about LeBron, period,” Larry Nance Jr. said. “I think (coach Tyronn Lue) said it best: ‘We’re going into a Game 7 with the baddest dude on the planet on our team.’ I like our chances.”

Check out more Cavaliers notes below:

  • James’ return to Cleveland ahead of the 2014/15 NBA season has been nothing short of success. He helped guide the organization to its first NBA title in 2016 and with a win tonight, the Cavaliers will have made the NBA Finals in every season since his comeback. Jerry Bembry of The Undefeated breaks down the implications of James’ potential departure from Cleveland and his legacy, regardless of tonight’s outcome.
  • Kevin Love, who is currently in the NBA’s concussion protocol, will not play in today’s decisive Game 7. However, that does not necessarily give an advantage to the Celtics, A. Sherrod Blakley of NBC Sports Boston writes. The absence of Love likely means a heavier dose of James, Nance, and Jeff Green on Al Horford, who did a fine job defending him in Game 6.
  • Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that Green will start in place of Love, Joe Vardon of writes. “I think he attacked the small guys, the switches, and took his time, did a good job attacking, rebounded the ball well,” Lue said of Green’s Game 6 effort. “I just think defensively being able to switch and guard multiple positions, that’s huge for us.