Jonas Jerebko

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Jerebko, Hield, Rondo

A blue curtain made sure the event was private, but behind that barrier Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins participated in a scrimmage this afternoon, the latest sign of progress toward his season debut, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole states that there probably won’t be much notice before Cousins is activated, but today’s scrimmage is another reason to hope it will happen soon. He notes that the team doesn’t normally use the curtain that divides its practice facility unless a rehabbing player is close to returning.

Searching for a solution at center, the Warriors will treat any progress from the former All-Star as welcome news. After rupturing his Achilles last season, Cousins joined the Warriors on a one-year deal with the understanding that he might not be able to play until January or February. Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko are holding down the position in the meantime, but the defending champs frequently find themselves at a size disadvantage.

“Loon is playing his tail off as an undersized center against bigs that are a couple inches taller than him and probably just as strong, or stronger,” Kevin Durant said. “He’s got his work cut out for him, as well as Draymond (Green). It’s on us to help out a little more on the rebounding, but teams are spreading us out with the 3-point line around just one big. So we’ve got to pick and choose our spots when we want to go in there and help in the paint and when we could contest 3s, because both of those things are beating us right now.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jerebko has been a better fit with the Warriors than some other free agents the team has signed, notes Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “He doesn’t lack confidence, and that’s the biggest thing for us,” Stephen Curry said. “Night to night, not really knowing how many shots you are going to get – he’s ready to play. We knew he could shoot and he will continue to have open looks and he just has to have the confidence to knock them down.”
  • Many Kings players have improved this year, but no one more than Buddy Hield, who is bidding for an All-Star appearance, writes Hector Amezcua of The Sacramento Bee. Hield wasn’t certain to be a starter when the season began, but is averaging 20.4 PPG and shooting 44% from 3-point range.
  • Rajon Rondo‘s clutch performance in the Christmas Day win over the Warriors gives the Lakers hope of staying competitive while LeBron James is sidelined with a groin injury, according to Joey Ramirez of NBA.com.

Warriors Notes: Jerebko, Offense, Durant

Steve Kerr has been impressed with Jonas Jerebko since he watched Jerebko’s pre-draft workouts as the Suns’ GM back in 2009. When Jerebko became available last summer, Kerr knew the forward would fit in alongside Golden State’s core, as Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group.

“[Kerr] told me, ‘We want to you come here. We need your abilities,’” Jerebko said of his summer conversation with Golden State’s coach. Kerr told him that he was a fan of the big man’s game and wanted him to come the Warriors.

After the conversation, Jerebko told his agent not to take calls from other teams and he ended up signing a one-year, $2.1MM deal with the two-time reigning champs.

Here’s more from Golden State:

  • Kerr explained to Medina (same piece) that he doesn’t try to sell players on joining the team. “I’m always honest with players that we are recruiting. I don’t want to mislead anybody,” Kerr said. In the case of Jerebko, Kerr told him that he would play “quite a bit” but cautioned that there would also be games where he would not see the court.
  • There have been several pleas within the Warriors for the team to “play the right way,” sources tell Monte Poole of NBC Sports.  Poole adds that shot selection was a major topic prior to the team’s loss to the Raptors.
  • The Warriors must use Kevin Durant optimally if they want to re-sign him, Poole opines in the same piece. While Durant is committed to playing the “right way,” as in within the offense, Poole believes the team must make sure Durant doesn’t feel underutilized as he approaches free agency.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

Jonas Jerebko, Warriors, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.18MM deal in 2018
Jerebko has bounced around the league the last few seasons but he always stays within his role and provides solid contributions wherever he lands. He’s averaging 7.2 PPG while shooting a career-high 48.9% from the field in 19.8 MPG. He’s also helped on the boards (5.5 RPG). An above-average 3-point shooter, Jerebko shouldn’t have too much trouble finding another contender to sign him as their backup stretch four next summer. It could be Golden State if he’s willing to settle for the veteran’s minimum again.

Tobias Harris, Clippers, 26, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $64MM deal in 2015
When news leaked over the summer that Harris turned down an $80MM extension offer from the Clippers, many people wondered what Harris was thinking. He was willing to bet on himself that he could do even better as an unrestricted free agent and thus far, the odds have increased in his favor. Harris is posting career highs in several major categories, including scoring (21.0 PPG), shooting (50.8%) and rebounding (8.5 RPG) for one of the league’s surprise teams. When the superstars come off the board, Harris will be next in line for a big payday.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers, 25, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The previous Pistons regime declined to give Caldwell-Pope a multi-year extension. He wound up signing a pair of generous one-year contracts with the Lakers but he’s been reduced to backup duty. Most of the shots he’s taken have come from beyond the arc and he’s not particularly good at it (33% this season, 34.4% for his career). Caldwell-Pope doesn’t appear to have a future with the Lakers beyond this season and will have to take a pay cut to find work elsewhere.

Dragan Bender, Suns, 21, PF (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $13.4MM deal in 2016
When the Suns drafted Bender No. 4 overall in 2016, then traded with Sacramento for No. 8 selection Marquese Chriss, they seemingly resolved their power forward spot for years to come. Instead, they wound up with two of the biggest busts in that draft. Chriss was traded away to Houston during training camp while Bender is barely seeing the court in Phoenix. He’s appeared in eight games while averaging just 5.5 MPG. Bender needs a change of scenery but he’ll have to settle for a modest deal next year until he proves he’s a genuine NBA player.

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, 25, PF (Up)– Signed to a four-year, $15.35MM deal in 2015
The Kings have a lot of young bigs but Cauley-Stein has been a fixture in the lineup. He’s posting career highs at 14.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG while generally playing the same amount of minutes as last season. Cauley-Stein came into the league with a reputation of being a quality defender and he’s posted positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus ratings each season, according to Basketball-Reference. He’ll be a restricted free agent but might be one of the few who gets a substantial offer sheet, considering Sacramento will like choose to make Marvin Bagley III their main man in the middle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Notes: D. Jones, Evans, Cousins, Jerebko

The Warriors came into camp expecting to make Damian Jones their starting center on opening night, but they were happy he was able to earn the job with his preseason play, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Jones was competing with Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney for the starting honor, but has separated himself from the pack.

“I think Damian has probably been one of the best stories in camp,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We were committed to giving him minutes, but we weren’t sure what we’d see.”

Jones’ performance may be enough to convince the team to pick up his $2.3MM option for next season. That decision is due by the end of October, and every dollar is important to the Warriors, who project to be well into the luxury tax again in 2019/20. DeMarcus Cousins is expected to take over as the starting center once he returns from an Achilles injury, but the chances are remote that he’ll return next year, so Golden State has to decide if Jones is the center of the future.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along, all courtesy of Slater:

  • Patrick McCaw‘s holdout gave rookie guard Jacob Evans a chance to earn a rotation spot, but he wasn’t able to impress the coaching staff. Evans didn’t play well in either the summer league or the preseason, prompting Kerr to say, “We’ll throw him out there from time to time.” Evans is fine as a defender, but he shot 6 for 25 during the preseason and missed all 10 of his 3-point attempts.
  • Cousins seems to be making progress in his rehab work, although he and the team haven’t talked much about it. No target date has been set for his return, but coaches allowed him to participate in a two-on-two scrimmage in front of the media at Thursday’s practice.
  • There are concerns that offseason addition Jonas Jerebko might be a repeat of Omri Casspi, who suffered a loss of confidence and became hesitant to shoot as last season wore on. Jerebko, who signed in July after being waived by the Jazz, had a difficult preseason and started passing up shots. Slater suggests that the start of the season might provide a welcome “mental reset” for the veteran shooter.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Jerebko, McCaw, Jones

Warriors owner Joe Lacob is preparing for a recruiting effort next summer to convince Kevin Durant to sign a multi-year contract with the team, he said in an appearance on The TK Show Podcast with Tim Kawakami. Durant will be a free agent once again after signing a one-year deal. Golden State will have Durant’s full Bird rights and will offer a five-year max contract to keep him in a Warriors uniform.

“He deserves to be able to go and be happy wherever he wants to be,” Lacob said. “I hope it’s here. And I hope he feels the same that way I do, and we do, about him when it comes time next summer. But you never can predict these things. We just will do our job and he’ll do his job, and we’ll see what happens next summer. And let the chips fall where they may.”

Durant’s preference for shorter, less expensive contracts has helped the Warriors in other ways, writes Drew Shiller of NBC Sports. Durant passed up a max deal in 2017 with a starting salary of $34.7MM. He signed for $25MM instead, which enabled the team to keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Lacob said a similar decision this summer made it easier for the Warriors to use their mid-level exception to add DeMarcus Cousins.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Jonas Jerebko is the latest shooter being brought in to give Golden State more firepower off the bench, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes in a player profile. The Warriors need the kind of production Jerebko supplied last season with the Jazz, when he shot .414 behind the arc.
  • With just five days until the opening of camp, the Warriors still aren’t sure if Patrick McCaw will re-sign, notes Anthony Slater of the Athletic. The shooting guard can accept a $1.7MM qualifying offer at any time, but he has been waiting all summer for a better opportunity. If McCaw remains unsigned when camp opens, Slater offers some other alternatives such as Nick Young, who was with the Warriors last year, Jamal Crawford, Arron Afflalo and Corey Brewer. They may also decide to let Danuel House, Kendrick Nunn and Alfonzo McKinnie compete for McCaw’s spot in camp.
  • Dietary changes are part of the effort Damian Jones is making to win the starting center’s job heading into opening night, relays Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Jones has sworn off sweets and other junk food as he sees an opportunity to join the starting lineup for the two-time defending champs, at least until Cousins is ready to play around mid-season. “I’ve been ready for it. I’ve been practicing for a while,” Jones said. “I know what role I’ll take on. I get the big picture. They’ve been telling me all summer what they need me to do.”

Warriors Notes: West, Myers, Jerebko, Cousins

David West was a team leader and legitimate tough guy with well-rounded off-the-court interests, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The 38-year-old big man announced his retirement today after a 15-year NBA career that included the past two seasons with Golden State, where he won two titles.

In addition to his longevity, West will be remembered for a decision in made in 2015 to bypass an option year with the Pacers and sign with the Spurs in pursuit of a championship. The choice cost him about $10MM, but West felt it was worth it to pursue a ring. He joined the Warriors a year later and became the perfect veteran leader for a team coming off a disappointing finals loss.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • In a post on the team website, GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr talked about how much West’s presence with the team will be missed. “There should be a picture in the dictionary of David under ‘pro’s pro’,” Myers said. “He’s one of the most decent people I’ve ever met. His depth of character is unmatched. We are all better for having spent the last two years with him. There is no doubt the best is ahead of him.” Kerr added: “David was a consummate professional throughout his entire career and was a huge presence in our locker room the last two years. The respect that he commanded was palpable every single day he walked in the door and the leadership that he provided to our team was critical to our success.”
  • Free agent addition Jonas Jerebko is prepared to do anything he can to help the Warriors stay on top. In a recent appearance on the Bay Area Sports Warriors Insider Podcast, Jerebko said he’s more confident than ever in his 3-point shot and believes he can help the team in other ways as well. “I’ve been in the league for 10 years now,” he said. “I know Steve [Kerr] and those guys have watched me and know what I can do on the court. I’m going to help every which way I can. If that’s on the defensive end, getting steals or rebounds, whatever it may be, hustling, you’re going to see me all over the court.”
  • The signing of DeMarcus Cousins gives the Warriors a potentially dominant big man once he’s fully healthy, but the team doesn’t plan any changes in its approach, writes Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re not going to change our style of play,” Kerr said. “We’ll definitely add a few plays for DeMarcus down on the block. But for the most part, we’re not going to change who we are.”

Stein’s Latest: Sixers, Warriors, Rockets, Nets

The Sixers’ much-anticipated offseason fell far short of expectations, Marc Stein of the New York Times opines in his latest newsletter (Sign-up link).

Philadelphia didn’t come close to signing either LeBron James or Paul George in the free agent market and couldn’t swing a deal with the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard, Stein continues. With Leonard landing in Toronto, the Sixers no longer have a clear path to the conference finals. They’re also still looking for a GM and the most consequential moves they made were re-signing J.J. Redick and dealing for Wilson Chandler, Stein adds.

We have more of Stein’s insights:

  • The Warriors were the biggest winners in the offseason. They not only stunned the NBA world by signing DeMarcus Cousins but they also made some underrated moves, such as locking up coach Steve Kerr to a long-term contract and signing serviceable forward Jonas Jerebko.
  • The Rockets’ offseason has been unfairly criticized. Re-signing Clint Capela to a team-friendly contract was a major coup and they should extract more production out of Carmelo Anthony than any other team in the league could.
  • The Nets will be active on the free agent market next summer but they won’t spend money simply because they’ll have a lot of cap space. Kyrie Irving will be a target if he declines his player option and becomes a free agent.

Pacific Notes: Walton, Nwaba, Clippers, Jerebko

LeBron James and Lakers coach Luke Walton held their first face-to-face meeting this weekend, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports. They had only communicated by text prior to chatting in Las Vegas when James visited the summer league playoffs. So far, so good between the young coach and the league’s premier player, according to Shelburne.

“He’s about the team. He’s about doing things the right way, and he’s about winning,” Walton said. “I can work with those qualities.” The Lakers’ head coach had previously reached out to some of James’ former coaches and teamates to get a better handle on what to expect when coaching James, Shelburne adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Restricted free agent Rodney Hood and unrestricted FA guard David Nwaba are potential targets for the Kings in the dwindling market, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. Sacramento could also ease its frontcourt logjam via a deal or simply wait until the market heats up again during the February trade deadline, Ham adds.
  • The Clippers’ moves have put them in a position to contend for a playoff berth but they might be better off falling out of the race quickly, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley and Luc Mbah a Moute could turn into valuable trade pieces that could land them some prospects and additional draft picks, Woike explains. That would likely be a better outcome for the franchise’s long-term health than squeaking into the playoffs, Woike adds.
  • Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko jumped at the chance to join the Warriors, Logan Murdock of the San Jose Mercury News tweets“My agent called and said the Warriors were interested and after that, it was a wrap,” Jerebko told Murdock. “When the best team in the world calls, you answer.” Jerebko signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with Golden State shortly after being waived by the Jazz.

Warriors Sign Jonas Jerebko

JULY 12: The Warriors have officially signed Jerebko, the team announced today in a press release. The one-year deal with be worth the veteran’s minimum.

As Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News tweets, Golden State’s offseason roster activity figures to be almost over. The team has 13 players under contract and is expected to bring back Patrick McCaw. The Dubs will likely keep their 15th roster spot open to begin the regular season in order to save some money and retain flexibility.

JULY 7: Free agent Jonas Jerebko, who was waived by the Jazz earlier today, plans to sign with the Warriors after he clears waivers on Monday, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Jerebko is expected to clear waivers, as any team who makes a waiver claim for Jerebko would be required to to guarantee his $4.2MM salary for this season. It was already reported by Wojnarowski earlier this morning that there was strong mutual interest between Jerebko and Golden State, so Jerebko’s plans come as no surprise.

Because the Warriors already used their taxpayer mid-level exception on DeMarcus Cousins, have no cap room, and will assuredly be above the apron this season, Jerebko will only be eligible to sign a one- or two-year deal at the minimum salary.

FA Rumors: Jerebko, Warriors, Thomas, Magic, Smart

After being waived by the Jazz today, Jonas Jerebko is already being eyed by the Warriors, among other teams, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, there’s strong mutual interest between Jerebko and Golden State, one of the teams the forward will consider upon clearing waivers.

There’s a possibility that Jerebko won’t make it to free agency, but in order to claim him, a team must have cap room or a trade exception worth $4.2MM. If Jerebko does become a free agent and wants to join the Warriors, he’ll have to settle for the minimum, since the Dubs already committed their taxpayer mid-level exception to DeMarcus Cousins, and won’t have access to the bi-annual exception.

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

  • According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), the word in Las Vegas is that the Magic discussed a potential deal with Isaiah Thomas, but are unlikely to complete an agreement at this time, preferring to maintain flexibility to see what other opportunities develop. As Kyler notes, a patient approach to free agency helped net the club Jonathon Simmons last summer after San Antonio eventually withdrew Simmons’ qualifying offer.
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe provides an update on the Marcus Smart situation in Boston, confirming that Smart is frustrated by the negotiations – or lack thereof – with the Celtics so far. However, according to Himmelsbach, the C’s still consider Smart an “integral” part of their future and don’t view the current situation as a “standoff.” Himmelsbach also reports that there’s interest around the league in Smart at a price point of about $9MM per year, but he wants more, and could ultimately sign his $6MM qualifying offer if the offers don’t improve.
  • Tony Parker, who reached an agreement with the Hornets on Friday, tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he received offers from the Spurs and Nuggets before deciding on Charlotte. I’d imagine those other offers didn’t come with the guarantee of as much money and/or as significant a role.
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explores whether Carmelo Anthony – who is headed for a split with the Thunder – would fit best with the Lakers, Heat, or Rockets, three teams said to be interested in his services.