Kendrick Perkins

Cavaliers Notes: Nance, Clarkson, Hill, Leonard

The Cavaliers aren’t likely to launch a complete rebuilding project if LeBron James leaves in free agency, writes writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Three of the players Cleveland acquired at this year’s trade deadline — Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and George Hill — are all under contract for next year, and the Cavs want to see what they can do when they’re with the organization from the start of the season.

Cleveland is likely to discuss an extension with Nance, who will make $2.3MM next season on the final year of his rookie contract. Teams have called about trading for Nance, Pluto states, but the Cavaliers seem committed to keeping him. Clarkson struggled in the playoffs, but was a valuable bench scorer during the regular season and the Cavs recognize that this was his first postseason experience. Hill has limited trade value with a $17MM contract.

The future is more unpredictable for Rodney Hood, who seemed like a good young player in Utah but had a miserable time after the trade. Pluto expects the Cavaliers to tender a $3.4MM qualifying offer, giving them the right to match any offer Hood receives in free agency.

There’s more Cavaliers news this morning:

  • Cleveland is among the teams trying to pry Kawhi Leonard away from the Spurs, but assembling a workable offer won’t be easy, Pluto adds in the same story. Kevin Love, who will make $24.1MM next season with a player option close to $25.6MM for 2019/20, would be useful for salary-matching purposes, but San Antonio seems more interested in acquiring young talent than an established player like Love.
  • Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t think LeBron James should let the pursuit of more championships guide his free agency decision, relays Scott Gleeson of USA Today. “My problem toward the end of my career was I was trying to shut everybody up and I was greedy [for more championships],” O’Neal said. “After I got to three [titles], everybody was saying I couldn’t get another. So I got four. After I got the fourth, they were saying I couldn’t get another one. So I was trying to make quick stops to get it. Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston.” O’Neal adds that it will be difficult for James to overcome the Warriors no matter where he goes.
  • James’ decision will dominate the summer, but the Cavs have some under-the-radar moves to make as well, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Cleveland has a team option on veteran center Kendrick Perkins that must be exercised by June 29. His $2.4MM salary for 2018/19 would be non-guaranteed. Okaro White, who was signed late in the season, will get a chance to show what he can do during summer league. Half of his $1.5MM salary for next year will become guaranteed if he is still on the roster Aug. 5.

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.

Celtics Notes: Morris, Larkin, Perkins

The Celtics have plenty to be concerned about following their Game 3 loss to the Cavaliers. Marcus Morris, who was given the tough task of stopping LeBron James, acknowledged his poor performance over the weekend, telling reporters that LBJ “was just too comfortable,” as A.Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston relays.

James shot 34.8% from the field over the first two games, scoring a total of 22 points when being guarded by Morris. However, he made five of his nine attempts against Morris in Game 3.

Despite the blowout loss, the Celtics remain confident that they can contain The King and compete with the reigning Eastern Conference champions. “Very confident. Very confident,” Morris said when asked about the team’s mindset. “I’m 100 percent sure it won’t be the same (Celtics) team on Monday.”

Here’s more from Boston:

  • Coach Brad Stevens hinted at a lineup change during the Celtics‘ shootaround on Sunday, Blakely passes along in the same piece. The move would likely involve moving Morris to the bench while inserting either Aron Baynes or Semi Ojeleye into the starting lineup.
  • Shane Larkin was participating in passing drills with the Celtics’ training staff on Sunday, though there remains no timetable for his to return to the court, per Blakely (same piece). It was previously reported that Larkin was unlikely to be available during the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Kendrick Perkins, who now resides on Cleveland’s bench, said he hasn’t spoken to Celtics GM Danny Ainge since the team dealt him to the Thunder at the 2011 trade deadline. “The crazy thing is that I haven’t even talked to Danny since the trade,” Perkins said (via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald). “When I’m watching on TV, he’s always sitting there, but every time I’ve come back to Boston he’s never there. We’ve never even seen each other since then.” 
  • Perkins added that Ainge deserves “a lot of praise,” pointing to the acquisitions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward while commenting on Boston’s depth in the backcourt. “I remember when Marcus Smart was coming out, people were afraid to take a chance on him, but Danny did. He went sixth, but I don’t think no other team would have took a chance on him that high — not from what I was hearing. And then you look at Terry Rozier, too. You have to respect what Danny’s doing. He put together a team, a real team,” the big man said.

Central Notes: Thompson, Perkins, Billups, Bucks

Tristan Thompson who was barely playing when the postseason began, has become an important part of the Cavaliers’ quest to reach the NBA Finals, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. After Al Horford‘s huge performance in Game 1, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue made a lineup change, swapping Thompson for Kyle Korver and giving the Cavs a bigger player to match up with Horford, who managed just seven points in 30 minutes Saturday.

“I wanted that matchup from the beginning,” Thompson said. “I feel like for me as a big, my job is to match up against whoever their best big is and make it tough for him. From the beginning of the series I knew that Al Horford was going to be my matchup regardless of when and it’s on me to try to cool him down and make it tough for him this series.”

It’s a moment of triumph at the end of a frustrating season for Thompson, who averaged career lows in minutes (20.2) and points (5.8). He still has two years and roughly $36MM left on his contract.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Veteran center Kendrick Perkins is thrilled to be on a title-contending team again after nearly two full seasons out of the league, relays Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The 33-year-old couldn’t get an opportunity after finishing the 2015/16 season with the Pelicans. “It was tough,” he said. “Being away from the game is something I didn’t do by choice. I just didn’t get a call. I just worked out every day hoping to get a call. I was in Houston, and every day I’d get up and go to the gym. That’s about it. It was humbling and all type of stuff, but I always say God don’t make mistakes, so at the end of the day you’ve got to take the punches or whatever it is and just keep moving.”
  • It’s surprising that Chauncey Billups wasn’t included on the list of potential front office candidates in Detroit, notes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The former Pistons star, now an ESPN analyst, has been open about his desire to become an executive. Ellis writes that the organization prefers someone with experience in running a team, but states that if Billups does get hired he is likely to bring along former teammates such as Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace.
  • New Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer is eager for the challenge in Milwaukee, relays Matt Velazquez of The Journal-Sentinel. Budenholzer interviewed for several openings, but he was convinced the Bucks were the next logical step for him. “Very excited about the roster, excited about the things we can do together,” he said. “Obviously, Giannis [Antetokounmpo] is a special player, but I think the entire roster’s got a lot of great players — Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, you keep going down the list, Jabari [Parker], all the guys. I just think it’s a great opportunity for me, a great fit for me.”

Cavs Sign Kendrick Perkins For Playoff Roster

APRIL 11: The Cavaliers have officially signed Perkins, the team announced today in a press release. As cap expert Albert Nahmad tweets, Perkins will earn $13K+ for his one day of NBA service during the regular season, but the move will cost the team over $43K due to tax penalties.

APRIL 9: The Cavaliers will be signing veteran center Kendrick Perkins to the final spot on their playoff roster, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Perkins was released by the club during the preseason, then played 27 games for their G League affiliate, the Canton Charge.

Perkins, 33, averaged 8.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG in 21.3 MPG in G League play. He appeared to be on the verge of an agreement with Cleveland in February, so the imminent signing is not a major surprise.

It’s likely that Perkins will see little, if any, action in the playoffs. But he does give coach Tyronn Lue another big body as insurance. Perkins has not appeared in an NBA game since the 2015/16 season.

He spent his first 7 1/2 seasons with the Celtics before getting traded to the Thunder. He played four-plus seasons with Oklahoma City, then saw action in 17 games with Cleveland in 2014/15 season.

In his most recent NBA season, he played 37 games for the Pelicans.

Cavs Mulling Options For Open Roster Spots

Okaro White‘s 10-day contract with the Cavaliers expired earlier this week, meaning the team is once again down to 13 players (not counting two-way players).

NBA rules call for teams to carry at least 14 players on their rosters, but those rules allow clubs to dip below the minimum for two weeks at a time. The Cavs have used this rule to their advantage since the trade deadline, carrying 13 players for two weeks at time in between 10-day contracts for White and Marcus Thornton. That approach has allowed the franchise to avoid tacking on much extra money to its projected luxury-tax bill.

The Cavs won’t be obligated to sign a 14th player until the final day of the regular season, but a team source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that a 14th man will likely join the roster before then.

As Vardon notes, the Cavs have a history in recent years of adding veterans to their roster just before the postseason gets underway — Dahntay Jones received that sort of deal in both 2016 and 2017, appearing in 25 playoff games for the Cavs in those two years, despite playing just two regular season games. The club is currently working through what to do with its two open roster spots for this year’s postseason, per Vardon.

Sources tell Vardon that Kendrick Perkins, who appeared to be on the verge of an agreement with Cleveland in February, remains on the Cavs’ radar and is a candidate to fill one of the open roster spots. Signing a young player like White or John Holland – who is on a two-way contract with the Cavs – is also a possibility, according to Vardon.

As we wait to see which direction the Cavs go, be sure to revisit our discussion from earlier this month on which players the club should target for those two open roster spots.

Kendrick Perkins Expected To Rejoin Cavs

4:47pm: Despite Perkins’ enthusiastic tweet, he hasn’t officially signed with the Cavs yet, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, who tweets that the team may let the dust settle and head into the All-Star break before filling their open roster spots.

4:32pm: There has been no official announcement yet from the Cavaliers, but Perkins has published a tweet announcing, “I’m back!” with a #Cavs hashtag, suggesting that he’s claiming one of the team’s open roster spots.

2:55pm: The Cavaliers may sign veteran center Kendrick Perkins to fill one of their newly open roster spots, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. He adds that Cleveland’s front office values Perkins’ strong leadership and believes it will be needed to bring the team together after today’s roster shakeup (Twitter link).

Perkins had been with the Cavs’ G League affiliate in Canton, but recently left the team in anticipation of an NBA opportunity. The 33-year-old showed he can still play, averaging 8.7 points and 7.2 rebounds in 27 games with the Charge and logging about 21 minutes per night.
His last appearance in the NBA came in the 2015/16 season, when he played 37 games for the Pelicans. He is no stranger to Cleveland, appearing in 17 games for the Cavs at the end of the 2014/15 season.

And-Ones: Free Agent Market, Payne, Perkins, Booker

The bull market for free agents has ended and there will be few free-spending teams this summer, according to Brian Windhorst and Bobby Marks of ESPN. Many organizations are paying the price for the huge contracts that were handed out in 2016 as cap issues are forcing much of the league to take a more frugal approach.

This season, five teams are on pace to pay the luxury tax, which kicks in with a payroll topping $119MM. Twelve teams are projected to be in tax territory for 2018/19 and several more are in danger of getting there just by re-signing their own free agents. The authors list the Bucks as one team that will cross the line if they hold onto Jabari Parker.

“The luxury tax was not designed for this many teams to pay it,” a league executive told Windhorst and Marks. “Many of those owners probably didn’t think they’d be paying it. Quite a few of those teams are probably going to take steps to get out of the tax or limit new spending.”

When teams were handing out big contracts in the summer of 2016, they were expecting a salary cap in the range of $108MM for next season. That projection has been revised down to $101MM, leaving many in an unexpected dilemma. Only seven teams — the Lakers, Sixers, Bulls, Hawks, Mavericks, Suns and Nets — will have more than $10MM available to chase free agents, and virtually all of those teams are in rebuilding mode.

NBA agent Mark Bartelstein expects the situation to improve in 2019 and 2020 when those 2016 contracts start to expire.

There’s more NBA-related news this morning:

  • Max and “supermax” deals are the reason more stars seem to be on the trade market, writes Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer. Clippers consultant Jerry West had been urging owner Steve Ballmer to trade Blake Griffin ever since Chris Paul let the team know he wouldn’t be re-signing. Ballmer was convinced after Griffin’s latest injury, recognizing the risks of paying him $171MM over five years, including nearly $39MM in the 2021/22 season when he will be 32. Teams are taking stock of their future and weighing whether maxing out a star is worth giving up financial flexibility. O’Connor predicts fewer mid-sized deals, like the approximately $17MM the Magic are giving to Bismack Biyombo and Evan Fournier, in favor of more non-taxpayer midlevel exceptions, which are valued at $8.4MM an will rise to about $10MM before the current CBA expires.
  • Adreian Payne, who was waived by the Magic last month in the wake of the Michigan State scandal, had signed to play in Greece, relays the Associated Press. Payne had a two-way contract and played just four games for Orlando.
  • Veteran center Kendrick Perkins has decided to leave the G League Canton Charge, tweets Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Several teams have contacted him about signing after the deadline, and he may consider playing in China or Japan next year, depending how the rest of this season turns out, adds Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). Perkins officially “retired” from the G League so the Charge can receive compensation, according to 2 Ways & 10 Days.
  • Sixers forward Trevor Booker has changed agents in advance of his upcoming free agency, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Booker has signed with Jim Tanner’s Tandem Sports + Entertainment.
  • Lavoy Allen, who played 61 games for the Pacers last season, has joined the Northern Arizona Suns of the G League, the team tweeted.

Central Notes: Thomas, Perkins, Mirotic, Portis

After a disappointing loss to the Kings on Wednesday, the Cavaliers cannot get Isaiah Thomas back from injury soon enough, USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick writes. Cleveland acquired Thomas in the offseason trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston but Thomas has not played this season due to a hip injury.

Despite rumblings that Thomas may play this week, Amick writes that his return will likely occur against the Trail Blazers on January 2 or the following night against the Celtics. Facing his former team in his first game back would be a dramatic story but it is also possible for Thomas to play against Portland and skip the next game as he eases into playing. The 28-year-old averaged an Eastern Conference-best 28.9 PPG last season and his Cavaliers teammates see his impending return as a positive.

“I think it’ll be good in a lot of ways,” Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver said USA TODAY Sports. “You know, sometimes when we get stagnant is when we start depending on ‘Bron too much to create everything, and he can do it, but it’s hard every night for an 82-game season. To have someone else who can share that load of handling the ball and making plays for guys, I think that’ll help us out.”

Check out other Central Division news and notes below:

  • Instead of retiring or accepting a coaching gig, Kendrick Perkins has willingly played for the Cavaliers’ G League affiliate, the Canton Charge. Perkins, 33, is a four-time NBA finalist with over $60MM in career earnings but he still feels he can help an NBA team, Scott Patsko of Cleveland.com writes. “I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Perkins, who is averaging 10.7 PPG and 8.4 RPG in Canton said. “I feel I’ve played well in the minutes I’ve played. I wanted to show that I can still put the ball in the basket. And that I can still just move and play with the speed, pick and roll. I just wanted to prove that I can actually compete.”
  • The Bulls have played like a completely different team since Nikola Mirotic‘s return from a facial injury he suffered at the literal hand of teammate Bobby Portis. Their preseason fight made headlines and strained their relationship but Mirotic acknowledged that Chicago’s 9-2 record since his return has been helped by both men being professional, per ESPN’s Nick Freidell.  “I think it was huge,” Mirotic said to ESPN on Wednesday. “I think it was huge because people didn’t know how we were going to act because it was a tough moment obviously for all of us, especially for me. But I think [up to now] we’ve handled it well.”

And-Ones: E. Okafor, Perkins, S. Brown, Wood

Two NBA veterans have been among the most impressive G League standouts early in the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Emeka Okafor, 35, has spent the past four years recovering from surgery on a herniated disc in his neck. He joined the Sixers for training camp and opted to stay with the organization’s affiliate in Delaware. He is averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and is shooting better than 60% from the field.

Kendrick Perkins was the Cavaliers’ final roster cut and went to Cleveland’s affiliate in Canton. He is averaging 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds through three games. He has dropped weight and may still be able to help an NBA team at age 33.

There’s more news from the NBA and the G League:

  • Today is an important day for four players who were claimed off waivers during the offseason, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The BullsDavid Nwaba and Kay Felder, the HawksNicolas Brussino and the BucksDeAndre Liggins are all now eligible to be traded.
  • The Sixers used the remainder of this year’s cap space for the renegotiation/extension with Robert Covington, leaving just eight teams with cap room, according to Marks (Twitter link). They are the Bulls [$15.1MM], Mavericks [$12.5MM], Suns [$8.9MM], Pacers [$6.1MM], Kings [$4.3MM], Nets [$3.4MM], Hawks [$589K] and Magic [$549K].
  • Veteran guard Shannon Brown has been claimed from the G League player pool by the Wisconsin Herd, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. The 31-year-old last played in the NBA in 2014, when he appeared in five games with the Heat.
  • Christian Wood has joined the Delaware 87ers as a returning player, according to Reichert (Twitter link). He played 13 games for the Hornets last year and ended the season in the G League.
  • International stars are having a greater impact on the NBA than ever before, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Many of the league’s best young players hail from overseas, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis, both considered early-season MVP candidates, along with Ben SimmonsAndrew WigginsJoel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Ziller credits former commissioner David Stern for his focus on expanding the league to overseas markets. That strategy not only created more revenue, it exposed the NBA to an international audience and created a new reservoir of players.