Jrue Holiday

Southwest Notes: Rondo, Rockets, Finney-Smith, Mavs

The pairing of Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo in the Pelicans’ backcourt should work out quite well and could turn New Orleans into a spoiler during the Western Conference playoffs next season, Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders argues. Holiday has never been hesitant to shoot and he’ll find plenty of good looks at shooting guard with defenses focusing on Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, Davies continues. Davies notes that Rondo has led the league in assists three times and is an underrated 3-point shooter and rebounder for his position who can also contribute defensively by making steals. A quality season would also help convince Cousins, who becomes an unrestricted free agent after the season, to stay put, Davies adds.

In other news around the Southwest Division:

  • Billionaire Dan Friedkin has expressed interest in buying the RocketsMark Berman of Fox26Houston.com reports. Friedkin is owner and CEO of Gulf States Toyota and the president and CEO of the Friedkin Group. Forbes lists his net worth at $3.1 billion. Owner Leslie Alexander announced last month that the team was up for sale.
  • Forward Dorian Finney-Smith will have to earn a roster spot with the Mavericks by showing improvement in two key areas, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Sefko believes Finney-Smith needs to become tougher around the boards and improve his 3-point shooting or else he’ll wind up in a salary-saving transaction. All but $100K of Finney-Smith’s $1.3MM salary is not guaranteed and the contract doesn’t fully guarantee unless he’s on the roster through January 10.
  • The Mavericks need to dramatically improve their rebounding to have any shot at a playoff berth next season, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com writes. Dallas ranked last in overall rebounding and grabbed the fewest offensive rebounds in the league. Coach Rick Carlisle told Sneed his frontcourt players have to get more physical. “We’ve got to get some monsters that push and shove, throw people out of the way and go get the ball,” Carlisle said. “We’ve got to get more of those guys.”

Western Notes: Rivers, Hill, Holiday, Thunder

Austin Rivers refuted reports that Chris Paul wanted to leave the Clippers in part because of a strained relationship between them, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Rivers spoke to Paul by phone shortly after the rumor surfaced and Paul assured him that there was nothing to it, Amick continues. “Chris was just like, ‘This is a joke,'” Rivers told Amick. “So I asked him, I’m like, ‘You don’t need to come out and say nothing publicly, I don’t need you to do that. It’s just going to make it even more, now they’re going to drag it out two more days. I’ll take it. I don’t care.”

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • The Kings’ promise that they were not in tank mode next season helped to sway point guard George Hill to sign with them, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Hill signed a three-year, $57MM contract to join Sacramento. “A couple of teams I was in talks to really weren’t focused on winning,” Hill said. “A couple teams wanted to win. Sacramento called and said we have a lot of young guys but we’re not here to tank, we want to win and we want to do it the right way and if we take our lumps and bruises, we’ll take our lumps and bruises but we’re trying to win.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins is entering his walk year and Jrue Holiday is already lobbying him to re-sign with the Pelicans, William Guillory of the New Orleans Times-Picayune writes. Holiday stayed with New Orleans by signing a five-year, $126MM deal as an unrestricted free agent. Cousins is no longer eligible for the designated player extension because the Kings dealt him. He can still sign an extension but can make more in free agency, Guillory notes.
  • Center Dakari Johnson is a candidate for one of the Thunder’s final two roster spots, according to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Johnson, the team’s second-round pick in 2015, has spent the last two seasons with the Oklahoma City Blue. A spot will be available if forward Nick Collison declines to re-sign or if the team waives guard Semaj Christon, Dawson adds.

Contract Details: Tucker, Holiday, Lowry, Collison

With more and more of the early free agent contract agreements being finalized, official numbers on those deals are starting to trickle in, and Eric Pincus, who operates Basketball Insiders’ salary database, is passing along the specifics on many of them. In instances where the official numbers are essentially identical to what was reported initially, we won’t pass along that info, but we want to provide updates in cases where new details surface.

Here are some new contract details on this week’s deals, with all links via Pincus’ Twitter feed:

Western Conference:

  • The Rockets split their mid-level exception between two players, with P.J. Tucker getting about $7.59MM and Zhou Qi getting the remaining $816K or so. Tucker’s contract is partially guaranteed in its fourth year ($2.6MM of $8MM guaranteed), while Zhou’s four-year pact isn’t guaranteed beyond year one (Twitter links).
  • As was expected based on initial reports, Jrue Holiday‘s total earning potential over five years with the Pelicans ranges from $126-150MM based on bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Dirk Nowitzki‘s two-year pact with the Mavericks will pay him an even $5MM in each of the next two seasons, with a second-year team option (Twitter link).
  • The first season of Wayne Selden‘s two-year minimum salary deal with the Grizzlies is fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • The Suns‘ new four-year contract for second-rounder Davon Reed is fully guaranteed for the first year, half guaranteed in the second year, and non-guaranteed in years three and four (Twitter link).

Eastern Conference:

  • Although Kyle Lowry‘s three-year contract with the Raptors can be worth up to $100MM, the base value is $93MM, with the remaining $7MM coming in the form of unlikely bonuses. Unlikely bonuses don’t count against the cap at this point (Twitter link).
  • The second year of Darren Collison‘s contract with the Pacers is only partially guaranteed. Currently, $2MM of his $10MM second-year salary is guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • The Hornets signed Michael Carter-Williams using a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception. Since he’s receiving an even $2.7MM, the team doesn’t have a hard cap at this point (Twitter link).
  • Eric Moreland‘s three-year deal with the Pistons includes a $500K guarantee for year one. The deal starts at $1.7MM, which means it was finalized using the amount of the mid-level exception that was left over after Langston Galloway‘s signing (Twitter link).

Pelicans Re-Sign Jrue Holiday To Five-Year Deal

JULY 6: The Pelicans have officially re-signed Holiday, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 1: The Pelicans have reached an agreement to re-sign point guard Jrue Holiday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports that the two sides have struck a five-year, $126MM deal. Wojnarowski adds that the value of the contract, which includes a fifth-year player option, could increase to approximately $150MM via incentives.Jrue Holiday vertical

According to Wojnarowski, Holiday met with Pelicans officials with New Orleans late on Friday night in New Orleans, and while they didn’t make a deal immediately, the 27-year-old reached an agreement with the team just a few hours later. Holiday had been expected to meet with the Pacers and/or Knicks if he hadn’t agreed to re-sign with the Pelicans.

As Wojnarowski details, the Pelicans and Holiday developed a strong bond after the way the franchise helped the point guard deal with a family crisis last fall, when he missed the start of the 2016/17 season to care for his wife and newborn child. Head coach Alvin Gentry also has “tremendous trust” in Holiday’s ability to run New Orleans’ offfense, per Woj.

Re-signing Holiday was New Orleans’ top priority this offseason, particularly given the team’s salary cap situation. With more than $85MM in guaranteed salaries already on their books for 2017/18, the Pelicans weren’t in a position to create significant cap room to sign a replacement point guard if Holiday had decided to head elsewhere.

Because they held Holiday’s Bird rights, the Pelicans had the ability to go over the cap to lock him up, and now will have the mid-level ($8.4MM) and bi-annual ($3.3MM) exceptions available to add further reinforcements. They’ll also have a “big three” of Holiday, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins for at least the next year, until Cousins’ contract expires in the summer of 2018.

Holiday, the 17th overall pick in 2009, arrived in New Orleans as a result of a draft-day trade in 2013. He has been reliable and productive over the last four years when he gets on the court, though he has been plagued by injuries too, having averaged just 52 games per season. In 2016/17, the UCLA product averaged 15.4 PPG and 7.3 APG.

It will be interesting to see whether the Pelicans express any interest in Justin Holiday this week. The Holiday brothers publicly stated earlier this year that they’d love the opportunity to play together, and Jrue’s older brother is also a free agent this summer.

Jrue Holiday was the No. 14 player on our list of this year’s top 50 free agents. He’s one of several point guards who has already struck an agreement since free agency opened less than eight hours ago. Stephen Curry, Jeff Teague, Patty Mills, and Shaun Livingston also have new deals in hand, leaving Kyle Lowry, George Hill, and Derrick Rose as the top point guards available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Porter, Randolph, Millsap, Holiday

The Wizards‘ session with Otto Porter ended without an agreement, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Porter plans to start meeting with other teams this weekend (Twitter link). That creates a potential opening for the Nets, who appear willing to offer the max of four years and $100MM, according to a post on NetsDaily. Philadelphia may also get involved, but the Sixers seem reluctant to make long-term offers. Washington has promised to match any offer for the restricted free agent.

There’s more late-night free agency news:

  • Aldridge has two more tidbits to pass along. The Cavaliers are interested in Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph and plan to call him today (Twitter link). Also, Blake Griffin‘s decision to re-sign with the Clippers means the Suns will intensify their pursuit of  Hawks forward Paul Millsap (Twitter link).
  • Jrue Holiday met with the Pelicans tonight, but no deal was reached, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. The two sides are expected to get together again in the morning.
  • The new $201MM supermax contract that the Warriors gave to Stephen Curry doesn’t include a no-trade clause or a player option, according to Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link).
  • Spurs forward Jonathon Simmons has gotten calls from the Kings, Clippers and Timberwolves and is ready to start holding meetings, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link).
  • In addition to Simmons, the Clippers plan to meet with Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari on Sunday and Jazz forward Joe Ingles this weekend, relays Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • There’s a strong chance that Celtics‘ power forward Amir Johnson will sign with the Sixers, a source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnson has a history with Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, who traded for him in 2009 as GM of the Raptors.
  • The Kings met tonight with Andre Iguodala and Patrick Patterson, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves have put in a call to Ty Lawson as a possible backup for Jeff Teague, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. The Pelicans, Thunder and Kings have also been in contact with Lawson.
  • The Grizzlies are the latest team to show interest in Kings guard Ben McLemore, relays Chris Mannix of The Vertical (Twitter link).
  • The Knicks contacted Suns power forward Alan Williams tonight, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Williams fits New York’s goal of finding players who can contribute on both ends of the floor, Begley notes.

Latest on Jrue Holiday

10:03pm: If Holiday leaves his meeting with the Pelicans without agreeing to a deal, the player will have a sit-down with the Knicks, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays (on Twitter).

9:26pm: Despite reports that the Pelicans are considered the front-runners to re-sign unrestricted free agent Jrue Holiday, the point guard intends to meet with the Pacers this weekend, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune reports (via Twitter). Holiday is expected to decide one way or another on New Orleans’ offer on Saturday, with an earlier report from TNT’s David Aldridge relaying that there are three other teams in serious pursuit of the 27-year-old. The scribe didn’t name the prospective suitors, so it is unclear if the Pacers were among those franchises he referred to.

It is also unclear if the reported bombshell trade of Paul George to the Thunder will make Indiana a less attractive destination now that the franchise appears to be in full rebuild mode. One would have to think that New Orleans is set up for more immediate success with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster, though, getting out of the brutal Western Conference may hold some appeal for Holiday.

If the Pelicans are unable to retain Holiday, it may be difficult to find an adequate replacement, since the club already has more than $85MM in guaranteed salaries on its books, reducing its cap flexibility. Holiday’s bond with the Pelicans is said to be strong after the way the organization supported him during a family crisis last fall.

Holiday appeared in 67 contests for the Pelicans this past season, averaging 15.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 32.7 minutes per outing. His slash line was .454/.356/.708.

Pelicans Strong Favorites To Re-Sign Jrue Holiday

3:11pm: Holiday’s plan is to sleep on his decision tonight after meeting with the Pelicans, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, who tweets that if the point guard decides he wants to hear more pitches, he’ll line them up later.

TNT’s David Aldridge confirms (via Twitter) that Holiday expects to decide one way or another on New Orleans’ offer on Saturday, adding that there are three other teams in serious pursuit of the 27-year-old.

JUNE 30, 11:11am: There’s “growing optimism” that the Pelicans will re-sign Holiday, tweets Scott Kushner of The Advocate. Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links) expresses a similar sentiment, reporting that other teams with interest in Holiday are starting to believe he’ll quickly re-sign with New Orleans on a new five-year deal.

Holiday’s bond with the Pelicans is strong after the way the organization supported him during a family crisis last fall, Stein notes.

JUNE 29, 1:29pm: Re-signing free agent point guard Jrue Holiday is the Pelicans’ top priority this weekend, and Holiday will meet with the team when the new league year opens on Saturday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. If Holiday is unable to reach an agreement with New Orleans during that meeting, he plans on sitting down with other interested teams during the first 48 hours of free agency, Wojnarowski reports.

As Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details, the point guard market is crowded with other free agents (such as George Hill, Kyle Lowry, and Jeff Teague) and potential trade candidates (Ricky Rubio and Eric Bledsoe). Additionally, some of Holiday’s potential suitors are now out of the running or have likely seen their interest decline significantly due to a slew of recent moves around the NBA.

For instance, the Nets, Sixers, and Mavericks were viewed as possible suitors for Holiday, but have added D’Angelo Russell, Markelle Fultz, and Dennis Smith Jr., respectively, within the last week. The Bulls and Knicks were also viewed as teams with interest, but both teams are in rebuilding mode now and Holiday would only be interested in leaving New Orleans for a playoff team, sources tell Deveney. The potential drop-off in interest opens the door for the Pelicans to retain their starting point guard.

“They want to keep him,” one league executive tells Deveney. “They’re going to do all that they can to keep him. But the way things have played out, there is not as much pressure on them, once they roll out the red carpet for him.”

While Holiday’s market may not be as competitive as expected, the Pelicans will still have some competition. Deveney identifies the Nuggets as one threat, since Denver intends to be active in free agency and could use a long-term point guard. A source confirms to Deveney that Holiday will draw interest from the Nuggets.

If the Pelicans aren’t able to re-sign Holiday, it may be tricky to find an adequate replacement, since the club already has more than $85MM in guaranteed salaries on its books, reducing cap flexibility.

Mavericks To Decline Option On Dirk Nowitzki, Negotiate New Deal

The Mavericks will decline their $25MM option on Dirk Nowitzki for next season and work out a new contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

The team is considering a two-year deal for the veteran forward, although one source tells Stein that Dallas will do “what Dirk wants.” He has previously indicated that he wants to continue his NBA career on a year-by-year basis.

Nowitzki signed a two-year deal last summer worth $50MM that contained a team option for 2017/18. Turning down that option will give Dallas more financial flexibility when free agency starts on Saturday.

The move leaves Dallas with $64.4MM in guaranteed contracts for next season, along with $55MM in cap holds for Nowitzki and Nerlens Noel, tweets Bobby Marks of The Vertical. The team could have as much as $21MM to work with, but only if Nowitzki agrees to take the $4.3MM room mid-level exception (Twitter link).

Sources tell Stein that Dallas plans to re-sign Noel and focus on its young core and won’t pursue Pelicans free agent Jrue Holiday, who has been linked to the team in past rumors.

Nowitzki has played 19 NBA seasons, all in Dallas. He remained productive this year, averaging 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 54 games after returning from an early-season Achilles injury.

Wolves Plan To Target Kyle Lowry, Three Others

With Jimmy Butler now on board, the Timberwolves’ next step is an upgrade at point guard, tweets Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News.

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry tops Minnesota’s free agent wish list, according to Lawrence, followed by New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday, Indiana’s Jeff Teague and Utah’s George Hill.

Minnesota has about $20MM in remaining cap room, so more salary would have to be unloaded to offer a max deal. One way to do that, especially if a point guard is being targeted, is to find a taker for incumbent starter Ricky Rubio, who will make $14.25MM next season and $14.8MM in 2018/19.

The Wolves had discussions involving Rubio with the Knicks at last season’s deadline and the Mavericks more recently, but both teams just picked up new point guards in the draft.

Lowry is the most likely of the four to receive maximum money. Coming off three straight All-Star appearances, the 11-year veteran made $12MM with the Raptors this season. Although limited to 60 games by injuries, he averaged a career-high 22.4 points per game.

All four teams have Bird rights on their guards, so they will have the competitive advantage of being able to offer more money and one more season than Minnesota can.

Draft Night Rumors: Holiday, Smith Jr., Butler, Cavs

9:14pm: In response to Amico’s note below, Channing Frye has posted an Instagram message dismissing the idea that he’s planning to retire.

Meanwhile, Mavs president Donnie Nelson also addresses an item below, telling reporters that he thinks the Dennis Smith Jr. pick means the Mavs likely won’t target a point guard in free agency (Twitter link via Damon R. Marx of The Dallas Morning News).

8:28pm: The Mavericks may not be ready to hand their offense over to No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. The team still plans to make a run at Pelicans‘ point guard Jrue Holiday once free agency begins, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. A former All-Star in Philadelphia, Holiday will be seeking a significant raise after making less than $11.3MM this season. The 27-year-old averaged 15.4 points and 7.3 assists in 67 games.

There’s more news from an eventful draft night:

  • Dallas coach Rick Carlisle offered a different perspective, posts Tim MacMahon on ESPN Now. Before being asked, Carlisle told reporters that he sees Smith as an immediate starter, noting his blend of intelligence, maturity and athleticism. “We believe he’s going to be a tremendous player for us and right away,” he said.
  • Carlisle added that the Mavs definitely preferred Smith over French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was taken by the Knicks at No. 8. The coach said there was “uproarious” applause in the Dallas draft room when New York’s pick was announced (Twitter link).
  • In negotiations for Jimmy Butler, the Celtics refused to part with their No. 3 pick this year or the Nets‘ pick for 2018, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link). Butler was shipped to Minnesota in a deal involving the No. 7 pick, and the Celtics may send Jayson Tatum, whom they drafted at No. 3, to Indiana in a trade for Paul George.
  • Cavaliers veterans Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson may retire this offseason, relays Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). If they do, it will reduce the salary commitment in Cleveland and open up two roster spots, giving the new GM some flexibility. Frye, 34, made more than $7.4MM this season, while Jefferson, who turned 37 yesterday, collected a little more than $2.6MM.
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