Kendrick Perkins

Thunder Notes: Perkins, 15th Man, Roberson

After completing a three-for-two trade with the Bulls on Thursday, the Thunder now have a roster spot open, and they’re expected to be active in the buyout market, reports ESPN’s Royce Young (Twitter link). Although Oklahoma City hasn’t been linked to notable released players or buyout candidates like Deron Williams and Andrew Bogut, the team will certainly be looking for “impact players,” says Young (Twitter link).

As Young observes, if the Thunder don’t land a top target, Kendrick Perkins could be a Plan B for the team. The former OKC big man said last week that he’d love to return to the team, and GM Sam Presti didn’t rule out that scenario on Thursday, though he didn’t make any commitments either, per Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman.

“Perk’s been here,” Presti said. “The door is always open to our former players, and so he’s part of the family. Him being here, I understand that, but I don’t want to speculate on who might be the 15th.”

Here’s more on the Thunder:

Kendrick Perkins Aims To Continue NBA Career

Since appearing in 37 games for the Pelicans last season, Kendrick Perkins hasn’t found a new NBA home, but he also hasn’t made any retirement plans just yet. In a conversation with The Oklahoman, Perkins confirmed that his comeback efforts are ongoing.

“I’m still trying to get back in,” Perkins said. “I’ve been working two-a-days over the last couple of months. Just been going hard. Got a couple of calls, just a few teams say they want to start trying me out and working me out before the free agency’s over with. So, just trying to get back in and see what it do. One more push.”

There weren’t many reports linking Perkins to specific teams during 2016’s free agent period after his deal with New Orleans expired. The Warriors were the one team said to have some interest in the veteran big man, but Golden State was ultimately able to add a handful of other frontcourt free agents on modest deals, including Zaza Pachulia, David West, and JaVale McGee.

For his part, Perkins – who spent parts of five seasons in Oklahoma City – sees the Thunder as a potential fit for him now, though he couldn’t confirm that anything is in the works with the team.

“I feel like I fit here,” Perkins said of OKC. “From me walking in the facility earlier (Wednesday), all the love and stuff that I got and then coming here tonight, and then after talking with [GM] Sam [Presti] and [team owner Clay] Bennett, you just know that it’s genuine. It ain’t like I got that many options that I can just pick and choose, but I feel like this would be a good place.”

The 27th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Perkins has appeared in 781 total NBA games for the Celtics, Thunder, Cavs, and Pelicans, averaging 5.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG over the course of his career.

Southwest Rumors: Mavs, Jones, Pelicans

The Mavs must lop off some salaries in order to sign a max-contract player next summer if Dirk Nowitzki returns in 2017/18, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports. Nowitki and the club agreed to a two-year, $50MM contract on Friday. Nowitzki’s $25MM salary for the second season of the contract, plus more than $60MM in other guaranteed commitments, would leave Dallas with less than $16MM under the projected cap of $102MM, by MacMahon’s calculations. If Nowitzki retires after next season, the Mavs can exercise a $5MM team option, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

In other news concerning the Southwest Division:

  • The opportunity to play steady minutes and rejoin forces with his ex-college teammate Anthony Davis were major factors in Terrence Jones’ decision to sign with the Pelicans, Oliver Maroney of Basketball Insiders writes. Jones, who signed a one-year contract worth an estimated $980K, appeared in only 50 games last season. “I wanted an opportunity to play for a team that is young and defining itself, but could still compete right away,” Jones told Maroney. “I wanted a larger role, where I could really compete and help a team win.” He’s excited about the prospect of playing alongside Davis, with whom he won the NCAA championship at Kentucky, Maroney adds. “We both work well together and we’ve already got a great chemistry and friendship,” Jones said. “When he’s healthy, I think he’s as good as any other big in the league, so I am excited to see what we can do this year.”
  • The Pelicans renounced their rights to Norris Cole, Kendrick Perkins and Jordan Hamilton, Justin Verrier of ESPN.com tweets. Those moves allowed them to officially sign both Jones and point guard Tim Frazier.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Perkins, Kupchak

New Kings head coach Dave Joerger wants to bring the “grit and grind” philosophy he employed in Memphis with him to Sacramento, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. “We’re going to bring that here,” said lead assistant coach Elston Turner, who was also on Joerger’s staff in Memphis. “We’re going to pick up the physicality; we’re going to put our hands on you. Teams are going to know that we’re on the floor. So the [Kings’] scoring may come down a bit, but believe me, the defensive part is going to raise up.

That’s what we want to do as an organization,” Joerger added. “If we’re going to play winning basketball, we feel like we’ve got to do a better job defensively, and we want to set that tone with this crew and especially the guys that are going to be on the roster. They’re going to have three steps forward in advantage when training camp comes.

Here’s more from out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors didn’t make a contract offer to Marreese Speights, who inked a one-year deal with the Division-rival Clippers on Friday, Marcus Thompson of The Bay Area News Group relays (on Twitter).
  • One big man the Warriors have expressed interest in adding to the roster is veteran Kendrick Perkins, who is friends with newly signed Kevin Durant, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets. The 31-year-old appeared in 37 games for the Pelicans last season, averaging 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per outing.
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is optimistic that the team’s offseason additions will move the franchise in the right direction, but the executive stopped short of predicting a playoff berth in 2016/17, Mark Medina of The Orange County Register relays. “I’m not quite sure what to expect,” Kupchak said. “A lot has to be seen from our young players before determining how much they can help us. With the veterans, they’re going to need some help from the younger players. They need to give them energy and quickness.
  • Kupchak also discussed the signing of center Timofey Mozgov, noting that adding depth at the five was a priority heading into the offseason, Medina relays. “From the beginning, it was a priority for us to get a big player,” Kupchak said. “I’m not going to tell you who the first, second or third or fourth [option] was. But clearly we were aggressive at the center position.”

And-Ones: Durant, Mack, Evans, Robinson

A contributing factor that led to Kevin Durant leaving OKC to join the Warriors was his frustration with the Thunder‘s offense and guard Russell Westbrook‘s tendency to dominate the ball, a source close to the “Slim Reaper” told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “Ultimately, he got frustrated and felt that they had plateaued,” the source told Beck. “[Coach Billy Donovan] came in, and he still had the same issues that he had with Russ under Scotty [former coach Scott Brooks]. The offense didn’t change much. He still had to take a ton of contested shots every game; and that’s when he had the ball at all. He’s never going to have a game in Golden State where Steve Kerr has to say at halftime, ‘You guys need to get Kevin the ball,’ which happened in OKC.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The chances are increasing dramatically that the Mavericks will look to trade forward Jeremy Evans, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. Evans, 28, has one year and $1,227,286 remaining on his current contract. Dallas is also exploring options to get JaVale McGee and his $1,403,611 salary off the books for next season, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com tweets. If the center remains on the roster past July 12th his deal becomes fully guaranteed.
  • The Jazz will keep point guard Shelvin Mack on the roster past Thursday, which means his contract worth $2,433,334 will become fully guaranteed, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
  • Unrestricted free agent guard Nate Robinson hasn’t garnered much interest around the league and a number of teams have been turned off by his stated interest in joining the NFL, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relays (on Twitter).
  • The Warriors are seeking veterans willing to sign team friendly deals to fill out the roster and may be interested in point guard Mario Chalmers and center Kendrick Perkins, Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle writes.

And-Ones: Perkins, Butler, Labissiere, Vesely

Players on the Cavaliers were furious when the team let Kendrick Perkins leave in free agency this summer and instead signed Sasha Kaun, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer said in an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” (video link; transcription via Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk). They valued Perkins for his emotional leadership and the role of enforcer that he played, even though he doesn’t offer much else on the court at this point in his career, as Haynes detailed. Perkins is averaging 11.3 minutes per game in 15 appearances for the Pelicans on a one-year deal this season. See more from around the NBA:

  • The offer the Celtics reportedly made to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler left much to be desired from Chicago’s end, and the talks didn’t advance from there, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune hears (Twitter links).
  • Former No. 1 draft prospect Skal Labissiere has continued to plummet in rankings, coming in only 19th in the latest mock draft from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, notes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. However, the University of Kentucky big man returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after a late-December benching and tallied 11 points and eight rebounds, numbers well above his averages of 6.4 points and 3.0 boards per game.
  • Jan Vesely recently drew an offer from an NBA team for the equivalent of between $7.7MM and $8.8MM, according to an official from his Turkish team, Fenerbahce Ulker, notes Eurohoops.net. The official indicated that Fenerbahce wants to keep the former NBA sixth overall pick, and Vesely has no intention of leaving for an NBA team in the near future, tweets international journalist David Pick. Few NBA teams have the capacity to hand out contracts of that amount this late in the season, so I’d speculate that it was meant as an offer for the summer, when teams have much more to spend.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Barnes, Perkins

Anthony Davis is still behind in voting for All-Star Game starters, as returns that the NBA released today show, so his chances of triggering higher salaries on the extension he signed this summer are fading. He’d need to make up a deficit of 173,877 votes that separates him from the final starting spot by the close of voting Monday to trigger the Derrick Rose rule, which would give Davis a salary of a projected $24.9MM instead of $20.4MM next season. The difference would amount to $25.875MM over the life of his contract, based on those same projections. He could still invoke the rule if he earns an All-NBA nod or wins the MVP award in the spring.

Here’s the latest from out of the Southwest Division:

  • Grizzlies small forward Matt Barnes isn’t optimistic that the appeal the NBPA filed on his behalf regarding the two-game suspension he received for an off-court incident involving Knicks coach Derek Fisher in October will bear fruit, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. “I appreciate the support I’ve got from not only my peers throughout the NBA but NFL and  from the entertainment world,” Barnes told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “It means a lot that the NBPA has filed an appeal on my behalf, but I won’t hold my breath. I’ve never had so much as a tech rescinded. I highly doubt I’ll be reimbursed a dime of that suspension money!
  • Kendrick Perkins, who signed with the Pelicans as a free agent this past offseason, is frustrated by the lack of effort exhibited by some of his teammates, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports relays. “It’s very disappointing. At the end of the day, this is not what I signed up for,” Perkins told Spears. “I signed up after I looked from the outside, coming in to a good young team that has been making strides in the right direction. We got real comfortable. We ain’t got long to make a push. At this point in time, we are all just searching to find the right lineups and who is going to come out and compete at a high level every night. That’s been our main problem before anything else. We just come out too many nights and don’t compete at the level we need in order to win. What really is the key to everything is our level of competitiveness.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Hinkie, Perkins, Young

The reports that the league office and other team owners played a role in the Sixers‘ hiring of Jerry Colangelo as chairman of basketball operations are troubling and could set a bad precedent for the future, Tom Ziller of SBNation opines. The SBNation scribe also points out that many of the same owners complaining about Philadelphia’s tanking didn’t vote for lottery reform when given the opportunity, and Ziller notes that it’s likely due to those franchises hedging their bets in case they need to rebuild in that manner in the future.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Outside of the Celtics trading him to the Thunder back in 2011, center Kendrick Perkins believes Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, has done an excellent job in rebuilding the franchise, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. “[They’ve done] a great job,” said Perkins. “I can’t recall them really going through a real bad rebuilding process. It’s been steady. Like right now, when they come in, guys are really preparing for them like one of the good teams in the league. They’ve got a nice team. They’ve been playing really well. You can tell they play together like it’s a family.
  • It’s been difficult for coach Brad Stevens to find enough playing time to go around on a deep Boston squad, but the coach believes it’s just part of the Celtics‘ growing process, Bulpett notes in the same piece. “How many guys are on our team, 15?” Stevens told Bulpett. “I’ve talked to all 15 about it. It’s all part of the experience, not only of a normal team but just of our depth, especially in the frontcourt. So you just try to keep those conversations alive. The one thing that I think that these guys know, and I hope they would say this, is that my door is always open to talk.
  • Conventional wisdom will credit Sixers GM Sam Hinkie only partially, if that, should the Sixers’ rebuilding plan bear fruit now that Colangelo is on board, but Hinkie would get all the blame if the plan fails, posits Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
  • Nets combo forward Thaddeus Young has seen how quickly other players’ NBA careers have ended, and he uses that as his motivation to keep working to improve, Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders writes. “You see guys come and go each and every year,” Young told Camerato. “I saw how quickly it could become a situation where you don’t know if you’re going to be in the NBA, D-League or overseas. It’s definitely an eye-opening experience. You do see a lot of guys on other teams and you say, ‘Man he was good. Seeing those type of guys being able to play this game and then they’re not in the league anymore, it’s crazy.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Southwest Notes: Williams, Motiejunas, Jones

Playing in Brooklyn gave Deron Williams the sense that “everybody felt I was the problem,” and he cited his own injuries as well as what he saw as the negative effect frequent coaching turnover had on chemistry for reasons why it didn’t work out with the Nets, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com chronicles. The Nets weren’t pleased with Williams’ attitude, nor his declining production, sources told Mazzeo, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has showered praise on the point guard, who feels much more at home on his new team.

“[Dallas] has been great for me,” Williams said, according to Mazzeo. “It’s been great for my family. [There’s] a lot more positivity in Dallas, and I think I needed that in my life.”

Williams has a player option worth more than $5.621MM for next season. See more on the Mavs amid the latest from the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Monday that he wanted every player the Knicks wound up with from the 2015 draft: Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant and Guillermo Hernangomez, a second-round draft-and-stash pick, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. The main attraction was naturally Porzingis, the No. 4 overall selection, as Marc Berman of the New York Post details. “We would have traded up in a heartbeat to get that kid,’’ Cuban said. “We loved him. Obviously, people are going to compare him to Dirk [Nowitzki] because that’s what people like to do. When you’re 7’3″, those three inches make a difference.”
  • The Rockets are reportedly thinking about trading Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones, but Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM points to their presence in Houston as reason for hope amid the team’s slow start.
  • Kendrick Perkins was expected to miss three months when he went down with a right pectoral injury in early November, but a decent chance exists that he returns to play sometime this month, according to John Reid of The Times Picayune. Coach Alvin Gentry lauded the big man’s work ethic during rehab, Reid notes, and this weekend Gentry praised Perkins’ locker room influence, as Brett Dawson of the New Orleans Advocate relays (Twitter link). Perkins is with the Pelicans on a one-year deal. “I think he’s the best teammate I’ve ever seen,” Gentry said. “I mean, without a doubt. I really do believe that.”

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Burks, Towns

Kevin Durant describes his friendship with Russell Westbrook as “really tight,” and it came into focus Thursday, when Durant chose Westbrook to present him for induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as The Oklahoman’s Anthony Slater details. The bond between the Thunder teammates looms large, with Durant poised to hit free agency this summer and Westbrook to follow in 2017.

“There’s times where we go at it,” Durant said about Westbrook in a Q&A with Slater. “There’s times I don’t like what he’s doing out on the court, there’s times where he hates what I’m doing out on the court. There’s times where it’s Russ, you gotta control your attitude or KD, you gotta stop, you gotta speak up, whatever. There’s times we cuss each other out, but that’s a part of being brothers. Because I know if I need something, he’ll be there and if I need to talk to someone outside of basketball, he’ll be there. It’s a real brotherhood type relationship. We’re like family.”

Durant also makes note of the continued relationship that he and Westbrook have with former Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who’s on a one-year deal with the Pelicans, as Slater relays.

  • Alec Burks is playing at a more controlled pace and making better on-court judgments, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, and that’s helped him come back better from the shoulder injury that prematurely ended last season than he was before it, as Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune examines. Much of his improvement is in the details, the coach also asserts, according to Falk. “There are a lot of little things, habits that are hard. Literally, which foot do you want forward? … All those things that maybe you don’t see add up,” Snyder said.
  • Jazz draft-and-stash signee Raul Neto isn’t quite seeing starter’s minutes, but he’s in the starting lineup and impressing Snyder, as Falk details in a separate piece“I think he’s handled it great,” Snyder said. “If you look at a lot of international players, and particularly the guards, there’s an adjustment period. I think he’s way ahead of that.”
  • The Timberwolves have a long way to go, and the front office surely knows it, but the defensive play of their starting lineup has been top-notch and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns is showing offensive versatility with his shooting and post-up game, observes Evans Clinchy of Hardwood Paroxysm.
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