John Henson

Cavs Notes: Smith, Coaching Search, Expiring Deals, Draft

Cavaliers GM Koby Altman told reporters Friday that he has already been contacted by a team interested in trading for J.R. Smith, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The interest isn’t so much in Smith as a player – he parted ways with the team in November and only appeared in 11 games this season – but in his contract, which is valued at $14.72MM but carries only a $3.87MM guarantee.

[RELATED: Why J.R. Smith May (Or May Not) Be A Valuable Offseason Trade Chip]

A team looking to unload salary could deal for Smith and be on the hook for just $1.29MM annually if he is waived and stretched over three seasons. The Cavaliers showed a willingness this year to take on unwanted contracts in exchange for draft picks, trading for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Matthew Dellavedova and Nik Stauskas.

“We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief from teams or salary relief until July 1,” Altman said. “We can guarantee that right now and we actually had a phone call yesterday on that (Smith) trade chip, so, we’re going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point.”

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • Altman promised an “open-minded” approach to the team’s coaching search and brought up the possibility of making history by hiring a woman for the job. Though he couldn’t mention her by name because she’s under contract, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is an obvious candidate if Altman wants a female coach. Hammon interviewed for the Bucks’ head-coaching job last year, ran the Spurs’ summer league team and has a player development background, which Vardon states is important to the Cavaliers.
  • Other coaching possibilities that Cavs players mentioned to Vardon include the Nets’ Bret Brielmaier, the Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley and the Trail Blazers’ Nate Tibbetts. All three have previous experience in Cleveland. Altman said interviews will begin soon with candidates whose teams aren’t in the playoffs.
  • The Cavaliers believe their expiring contracts for next season might generate some interest on the trade market this summer. Knight and Dellavedova will both be free agents in 2020, along with John Henson, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson.
  • Cleveland won a tiebreaker with the Suns for second place in the draft order heading into next month’s lottery. If they Cavs do wind up with the No. 2 pick, Vardon notes, their view of what type of player Collin Sexton will develop into may determine whether they opt for a point guard in Ja Morant or a wing player in R.J. Barrett.

Central Notes: Ellington, Stauskas, Oladipo

The Pistons used up the remainder of their mid-level exception to sign guard Wayne Ellington, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit made a $2.4MM commitment to acquire Ellington, who was waived by the Suns after getting traded by the Heat last week. The team remains $252K under the luxury tax threshold and it has no player bonuses that would push it over the tax, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

The Pistons divvied up portions of the mid-level to sign free agent Glenn Robinson III and second-round picks Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown Jr. over the summer. Ellington got off to a slow start in his Pistons debut, shooting 1-for-8 from the field against Washington on Monday night.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • The signing of free agent guard Nik Stauskas technically pushed the Cavaliers over the luxury tax line but they’ll drop below it due to an unrelated acquisition, Marks notes in another tweet. Cleveland will get a $750K credit based on John Henson‘s bonuses being deemed unlikely at the end of the season. That will put the Cavs $722K below the tax line. Henson was acquired as part of the George Hill deal with the Bucks in early December but has yet to make his Cavs debut after undergoing wrist surgery in late November.
  • Stauskas is happy he would up back with the Cavaliers, believing he’ll get a chance to showcase his skills, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Stauskas was traded by Portland to Cleveland last week. He was included in two other deals, then waived before re-signing with the rebuilding club. “This team is not in a playoff position right now so they’re in the stage of developing guys and obviously it’s not like you look at the roster and have a bunch of All-Star talent,” Stauskas said. “I’m coming from Portland where I was playing behind guys like Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum — established guys. You look at the roster here and you don’t necessarily have that. I look at the opportunity coming in and help this team win some games and maybe help show what I can do as well.”
  • Victor Oladipo‘s season-ending quad injury occurred in the same area of his right knee that forced him to miss 11 games earlier this season, according to an ESPN report. However, the Pacers star guard is unsure if the earlier injury led to the more serious one. The soreness Oladipo felt in November and December was just above the right knee. “Sure, it might be connected, but who knows,” Oladipo said. “I’m not focused on the past because I have no control over that, just like I have no control over the future.”

Cavaliers Rumors: Hood, Henson, Love

After being traded from Utah to Cleveland during the 2017/18 season, Rodney Hood could once again find himself as the subject of in-season trade rumors in 2018/19, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. However, this time around, Hood is vowing not to let that speculation affect him.

“If I get a call then we will handle it then. But until I get a call I’m not going to worry about what’s going on outside the circle,” Hood said, per Fedor. “I think that’s where I got into a little trouble last year, my last month or so when I was in Utah, just listening to what was going on rather than staying locked in. So just want to lock in and once I get that call we will see what happens.”

While the Cavaliers set aside some money last offseason to re-sign Hood to a long-term deal, he ultimately accepted his one-year qualifying offer, and not it’s unclear whether he’s still part of the club’s future plans. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently identified Hood, an unrestricted free agent in 2019, as a player who could be on the trade block in Cleveland.

Of course, there’s another notable difference between last year and this year for Hood — because he re-signed with the Cavs on a one-year deal, he has the ability to block any trade that involves him.

“I didn’t know that until actually about like three or four days ago when people started talking about it,” Hood said.

With Cleveland headed for a high spot in the draft lottery, Hood may welcome a change of scenery if he gets a chance to join a contender. Still, the Cavs will have to take his veto ability into account as they explore the market, since they’ll need him to sign off on any trade agreement they make. As Fedor details, Hood isn’t going into specifics on whether or not he’d approve a deal, but did say he’s happy in Cleveland.

“I like being here. I like the fan base. I like the city, me and my family are settled there. I’m not even looking towards being traded,” Hood said. “It’s a business and what happens outside of my jurisdiction, with my agent and the front office, that will happen and we will go from there.”

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • While the Clippers haven’t explicitly expressed interest in Rodney Hood, they’ve scouted the Cavs’ last several games, could use a wing, and don’t want to take on multiyear money, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Those factors could make L.A. an ideal suitor for Hood.
  • The Cavaliers just acquired John Henson earlier this month, but it’s possible he’ll be on the move again before the trade deadline, says Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. As Kyler notes, Henson could return from wrist surgery in February and isn’t in Cleveland’s long-term plans. However, if he’s still not healthy at the deadline, the Cavs may have a hard time finding a taker, especially since his $10.48MM salary for 2019/20 is fully guaranteed.
  • Although the Cavs have been willing to listen to inquires on Kevin Love, league sources view an in-season deal as unlikely, according to Kyler. By all accounts, Cleveland won’t be actively looking to move Love anyway, but if that stance changes, an offseason trade appears more realistic, as his contract would be easier to move at that point.

Bucks Acquire George Hill From Cavs

DECEMBER 8, 9:00am: As part of the deal, the Wizards also removed the protections on the 2020 second-round pick they owe the Bucks, reports Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). In summation, the trade looks like this, as Smith tweets:

  • Bucks receive George Hill, Jason Smith, cash considerations (from Wizards), the Wizards’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cavaliers), and the protections removed on the Wizards’ 2020 second-round pick.
  • Cavaliers receive John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova, the Bucks’ 2021 first-round pick (protections detailed below), the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick, and the Wizards’ 2022 second-round pick.
  • Wizards receive Sam Dekker.

DECEMBER 7, 9:25pm: The trade is official, according to a Cavaliers press release. as relayed by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.

6:20pm: The Wizards have agreed to make it a three-team deal by acquiring Dekker for big man Jason Smith and a second-round pick, Wojnarowski tweets. The Cavs will swap a 2021 second-rounder with Washington for a 2022 second-rounder, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

5:05pm: The Bucks have agreed to acquire veteran guard George Hill from the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Matthew Dellavedova, injured center John Henson and first- and second-round picks in 2021, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Cleveland is also sending forward Sam Dekker to Milwaukee, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

As always, the deal is contingent on the players passing physicals.

The Bucks will save approximately $18MM for the 2019/20 season with this move, which will increase their flexibility to make more moves next summer, Wojnarowski notes in a separate tweet. With Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe both on track to become free agents in July, that extra flexibility could be crucial.

The Cavs are showing a continued willingness to take on salary in order to acquire future assets, Wojnarowski adds.

There was a sense of urgency in getting this deal done on Friday. These players are now eligible to be aggregated on the February 7th trade deadline, Wojnarowski points out in another tweet. Thus, these players can be combined with other contracts in a deadline deal.

While Cleveland is technically acquiring Milwaukee’s 2021 first-rounder in the deal, it’s likely to get pushed back to 2022. That’s because the first-rounder that Milwaukee owes Phoenix next summer almost certainly won’t change hands until 2020, as it’s protected 1-3 and 17-30 for 2019. Since teams can’t trade future first-round picks in back-to-back seasons, the Cavs would have to wait an extra year to get their pick from Milwaukee.

There are protections on the first-round pick going to Cleveland, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link). The first-rounder is protected 1-14 in 2021; 1-10 in 2022; 1-10 and 25-30 in 2023; and 1-8 in 2024. If still not conveyed by then, it converts to two second-rounders in 2025.

Hill is making $19MM this season but his $18MM salary for next season doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 1. Only $1MM is guaranteed, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Milwaukee will almost assuredly cut him loose before then, eating his $1MM partial guarantee. However, Hill can be a contributor this season on a playoff contender.

He joins a guard rotation that includes Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell. The addition of Hill would seemingly reduce Donte DiVincenzo‘s minutes.

Henson is making $11.3MM this season and has a $10.5MM guarantee for next season in the final year of his deal. He recently underwent wrist surgery and could miss the rest of the season.

Dellavedova, who will begin his second stint in Cleveland, is making $9.6MM this season and the same amount next season.

Dekker is making $2.76MM and Milwaukee would have to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer after the season to make him a restricted free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Henson Has Surgery On His Left Wrist

NOVEMBER 28: Henson underwent successful surgery, the team announced on its website. The Bucks are hoping he will be back for the playoffs or maybe even earlier, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

NOVEMBER 16: Bucks backup center John Henson will undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left wrist, the team announced today in a press release. Henson initially sustained the injury on November 6 before reporting additional discomfort after Milwaukee’s game on Wednesday, per the club.

While the Bucks don’t provide a specific timeline on Henson’s recovery in their announcement, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the big man is expected to be sidelined for at least the next 12 weeks. While Henson plans to return this season, it likely won’t happen until after February’s All-Star break, according to Charania.

It’s a tough break for the Bucks and for Henson, who had been giving the team solid minutes as Brook Lopez‘s backup at the five. In 14 games (13.4 MPG), the 27-year-old had recorded 5.6 PPG and 5.1 RPG. He has even added a three-point shot to his game this season under new head coach Mike Budenholzer, making 0.8 threes per game at a 35.5% rate.

With Henson on the shelf, Thon Maker figures to take on a larger role off Milwaukee’s bench, while Christian Wood could also get a chance to earn minutes.

The Bucks’ update today also notes that Donte DiVincenzo will miss at least the next three games after suffering a minor left quadriceps strain. Pat Connaughton figures to be first in line to help replace DiVincenzo’s production.

Central Notes: Evans, Thompson, Bulls

Still in the early stages of his first season with the Pacers, Tyreke Evans continues to find his groove and fit on the team. Evans posted his best game of the season in Indiana’s win on Friday, and has said that he is continuing to adjust to the offense and will look to be more assertive moving forward.

Signed this past offseason on a one-year deal, Evans serves as the Pacers’ sixth man, providing capable shooting and ball-handling in bench units. So far this season, Evans is averaging 11.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while knocking down 40 percent of his 3-pointers and playing 20.3 minutes per game.

The Pacers will continue to need Evans to step up alongside Victor Oladipo as they look to navigate the top of the Eastern Conference and cement themselves as true playoff contenders.

There’s more from the Central division:

  • With the Cavaliers suffering a slow start due to injuries and inconsistent play from many key rotational players, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic writes that amidst a career year, Tristan Thompson has also taken on a new role as a leader of the team, which is something the Cavaliers didn’t have when LeBron James left in 2010.
  • As the Bulls continue to struggle with injuries and inconsistent play, Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago points out that the team is exactly where it should be given the injuries to some of its best players and the club’s primary focus on rebuilding and player development.
  • A recent Central Rumors post highlights Robin Lopez receiving more playing time to boost his trade value and provides updates on the injuries to Luke Kennard and John Henson.

Central Rumors: Henson, Lopez, Sexton, Kennard

John Henson‘s wrist injury will cost him more than just a chunk of the season, as Bobby Marks of ESPN explains. The Bucks center will lose $750K in bonus money due to clauses in his contract. He was due $250K for appearing in 60 games and an additional $500K for 75 games. Henson, who is signed through next season, is expected to miss at least 12 weeks due to a torn left wrist ligament. Henson’s cap hit for the 2019/20 campaign will be reduced to $9.7MM after the season once the bonuses are deemed unlikely. That will give Milwaukee a little more financial flexibility next summer.

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Robin Lopez has seen his playing time increase in recent games and the team may be showcasing him and his expiring contract, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Lopez is making $14.3MM and the team could acquire an asset and move him to a contender, where he could add toughness off the bench without a long-term commitment, Cowley notes. Lopez is downplaying the possibility of getting traded. ‘‘I’ve always found that I kind of play best when I go out there and play unencumbered or unhampered by things like that,’’ he said.
  • Collin Sexton may have taken over the Cavaliers’ starting point guard spot from George Hill, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland’s lottery selection is averaging 18.0 PPG and shooting 48.4% since Hill injured his shoulder earlier this month. “There are just guys who feel more comfortable starting than coming off the bench,” head coach Larry Drew told Fedor and other media members. “I think everybody wants to start, but everybody’s production as a starter is not very good. … Certainly with G-Hill out, Collin has definitely stepped up to the plate and made his presence felt and has made a major impact to what we’ve been doing.”
  • Pistons shooting guard Luke Kennard will be out a few more weeks, according to the team’s latest medical update. Kennard suffered a right shoulder AC joint sprain on October 25th. Kennard’s rehabilitation process will continue for an additional two weeks with a gradual intensification towards basketball activity. That suggests Kennard, a second-year guard, won’t be back until sometime next month.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Parker, Stefanski, Griffin

Lance Stephenson has left the Pacers again, but just like last time it may not be forever, writes Dana Benbow for The Indianapolis Star. Stephenson, who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this summer, was asked about a possible return during a party he threw Wednesday to say goodbye to Indianapolis.

“Oh, of course. This is home. Of course,” he responded. “I would always want to come back here.”

Stephenson was among Indiana’s most productive reserves last season, appearing in all 82 games and posting a 9.2/5.2/2.9 line. His previous stints with other teams — the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves — produced mostly disappointing results.

“We stayed in constant communication with him,” team president Kevin Pritchard said. “At the end of the day, Lance gave us some great years. We love Lance. We love Lance on the court, we love Lance off the court.” 

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Mike Budenholzer may be having “buyer’s remorse” over taking the Bucks‘ head coaching job after the loss of free agent Jabari Parker, suggests Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox in his latest podcast. He adds that the entire organization was counting on Parker to stay and never expected him to get an offer in the $20MM range like the Bulls gave him.
  • The Bucks are still hoping to make a deal before the season starts, Woelfel adds in the same discussion. He names John Henson, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell as the players most likely to go, but says Eric Bledsoe has also been mentioned as a trade candidate.
  • Ed Stefanski has made a lot of progress in his first 100 days as a senior advisor to the Pistons, notes Chris Schwegler of NBA.com. The most significant moves were the hiring of reigning Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, adding Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown through the draft and signing free agents Glenn Robinson III, Jose Calderon and Zaza Pachulia.
  • Blake Griffin is looking healthy during his summer workouts at UCLA, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. A knee injury limited Griffin to 58 games last year between the Clippers and Pistons, and he hasn’t played more than 67 in a season since 2013/14.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Bridges, Labissiere, Clippers

The Lakers ensured themselves a successful offseason when they signed LeBron James, but they still need to fill a vacancy at center, writes Matt John of Basketball Insiders. The addition of free agent JaVale McGee doesn’t really solidify the position, and the only other choices on the roster are rookie Moe Wagner and Ivica Zubac.

With David West and Brandan Wright as the best free agents left on the market, John identifies several potential trade targets, including Tristan Thompson, James’ former teammate in Cleveland. Thompson is a physical rebounder and defender with whom James had a good rapport. However, John notes that he may not be available unless Cleveland decides to rebuild.

Other possibilities include the Bismack Biyombo, who finds himself in a center logjam after being traded to Charlotte, the Bucks’ John Henson, the Bulls’ Robin Lopez, the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic and the Hawks’ Dewayne Dedmon.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns rookie swingman Mikal Bridges was a little disappointed he didn’t play more in the summer league, James Blancarte of Basketeball Insiders reports. “It’s tough you know. Coming in mentally, you don’t know what the coach is going to do and how they are going to play you,” Bridges told Blancarte. “Couple of games, not playing as much as I thought I was going to be [playing]. Just staying mentally [tough], going through that.” Bridges averaged 6.2 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 20 MPG during five Las Vegas outings. He will also likely have wait his turn during his rookie campaign but Phoenix thought enough of him to swing a draft-night trade with the Sixers, Blancarte notes.
  • Kings big man Skal Labissiere is looking to improve his durability during his offseason workouts, Jason Wise of the team’s website relays. Memphis-area trainer Raheem Shabazz has made Instagram posts showing the work Labissiere is putting in as he prepares for his third NBA season.
  • Clippers lottery picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson showed flashes of potential in summer league games but they were far from perfect, according to Keith Smith of RealGM. Gilgeous-Alexander has a solid all-around game but needs lot of work with his shot. Robinson has to focus more on the defensive end, Smith continues, while undrafted big man Angel Delgado struggled on the perimeter. However, Delgado displayed strong rebounding instincts and toughness on the interior, Smith adds.

Eastern Rumors: Parker, Bulls, Bucks, Faried

Amidst speculation that the Bulls are clearing cap room for a major move, multiple reports continue to link Chicago native Jabari Parker to the club.

One NBA executive who spoke to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times claimed that the Bulls are “most definitely” interested in Parker, while Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago says he thinks “there’s some smoke” to rumors connecting the team to the Bucks‘ restricted free agent. Sources say Parker would like to be a Bull, Goodwill adds (Twitter link).

While it’s possible that the Bulls are gearing up to make a play for Parker, I’m not sure he’s an ideal match for their roster, given that he fits best at the power forward spot. Chicago has already made one big long-term commitment this month by matching Zach LaVine‘s offer sheet with Sacramento. For a team said to be prioritizing cap flexibility going forward, a lucrative offer sheet for Parker would be a surprise, which makes me wonder if the supposed mutual interest is stronger on Parker’s side than on the Bulls’ side.

As we wait to see how Parker’s market plays out, here are a few more notes and rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Within his latest article, Woelfel writes that the Bucks have been exploring possible trades for Matthew Dellavedova and John Henson, but haven’t had any success.
  • The Nets and Kenneth Faried‘s representatives were set to talk this morning to see what the team’s plan is for Faried, per TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). There have been no indications yet that Brooklyn plans to buy out Faried — if the team offers him a larger role than the one he had in Denver, he may be happy to stick with the Nets for 2018/19.
  • In a mailbag focusing on the Magic‘s point guard situation, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel reiterates that the team’s interest in Isaiah Thomas was overstated, writing that the front office talked to Thomas’ camp, but never pursued a contract agreement.
  • In order to succeed with the Wizards, newly-signed center Dwight Howard will have to be willing to make some sacrifices for the team, John Wall told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “He has to buy into that and not try to say it’s all about him or try to do this for himself,” Wall said. “Just do it for the whole team and group and I think we will be fine.”