Kendrick Perkins

Lakers Notes: AD Trade, LeBron, Pelinka, More

When David Griffin arrived in New Orleans as the Pelicans‘ new head of basketball operations, he was faced with a predicament related to Anthony Davis, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. Sources confirm to McMenamin that there was some lingering resentment toward the Lakers within the Pelicans’ organization – all the way up to ownership – due to the way AD’s public trade request played out earlier in the year. However, Griffin also recognized that L.A. was the most logical trade partner for New Orleans.

“When I took over, there was some latent discontent, maybe with the way things had been handled,” Griffin said. “We just talked about the fact that, look, in all likelihood the best package is going to come from this team, because it’s the only team that AD’s willing to stay at.”

As McMenamin details, agent Rich Paul had signaled to the Celtics and other suitors that Davis wouldn’t re-sign with them in 2020, since the big man wanted to play in New York or Los Angeles.

“The last thing you want to do is put a GM in a situation where he trades away an asset and then the guy walks out the door,” Paul said. “Like, you can’t do business that way. So it’s not really a hard conversation to have. And I don’t think it stopped [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge from trying. It’s just that maybe he didn’t have the deal [he wanted]. He wasn’t willing to give up the young players, which I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t give them up either if the guy is not going to re-sign.”

The Pelicans’ big win on draft lottery night helped clear a path for the team to work something out with the Lakers for Davis, as Paul observed to McMenamin: “The fact that [the Pelicans] were going to get the first pick caused me to understand that it softened the blow of losing Anthony Davis because the organization could still have some momentum.”

McMenamin’s story at ESPN provides an in-depth look at several other aspects of the Lakers’ pursuit and acquisition of Davis, as well as the franchise’s adjustment to having him on the roster. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said that even on the day the Lakers and Pelicans reached a trade agreement, there were a couple times he was convinced a deal wouldn’t come together. But the front office persevered in part because they believed they owed it to LeBron James. “When a player of LeBron’s stature puts his trust in the organization,” Pelinka said, “I think there’s an implicit bilateral trust going back, saying: ‘We’re going to do everything we can to put you in a position to win more championships, because that’s what you’re about.'”
  • Pelinka, who added that he believes in treating his superstar players “like partners,” admitted that he has probably had hundreds of three-way calls with James and Davis since the trade as he has solicited their opinions on certain roster moves. “Every single decision. I [have] never been involved so much,” Davis said. “No matter who the player was, he wanted to make sure. It was on everything. And it was like, ‘Wow.’ To the point where I was like, ‘All right, Rob, stop calling me.'”
  • Kendrick Perkins, who was teammates with LeBron in Cleveland and AD in New Orleans, had a hand in bringing the two stars together. The veteran big man introduced Davis to Klutch Sports in 2018 when word got out that he was considering an agent change, writes McMenamin.
  • Rich Paul believes that Davis’ ability to make threes and pass the ball separates him from other stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo. AD’s agent offered the following spicy take: “If you put Anthony Davis on that Bucks team last year, they’d be playing in the Finals. He knows how to make guys better. That’s not a knock to Giannis, but that’s just what [I think].”
  • The NBA was willing to allow LeBron to give up his jersey number (23) to Davis despite the paperwork not being filed in time, but Nike nixed the idea, citing tens of millions of dollars in wasted inventory on James jerseys, sources tell McMenamin.

And-Ones: Munford, Stokes, Davis, Perkins, Brown

Former NBA guard Xavier Munford has left the Chinese Basketball Association to join the Wisconsin Herd, G League affiliate of the Bucks, the team announced this week.

Munford appeared in 34 games with the Herd last season, holding per-game averages of 24.4 points, five rebounds and 5.2 assists. He shot 50.9% from the floor and 44.4% from 3-point range during that stint, earning a two-way contract with the Bucks in January of 2018.

Munford went unsigned in free agency and agreed to a deal with the Fuijan Sturgeons this past December. He holds NBA experience with the Grizzlies and multiple summer league stints over the past few seasons, going undrafted in 2014 out of Rhode Island. NBA teams could look to Munford for a potential 10-day contract in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent Jarnell Stokes has registered interest from teams in China, a source told Hoops Rumors. The Sioux Falls Skyforce announced that Stokes, 25, left the team this week to pursue other opportunities. Stokes was waived from his two-way contract with the Grizzlies in early January after the team was faced with injuries to Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson and other wing players.
  • The Maine Red Claws have re-acquired Trey Davis, the team announced in a press release. Davis is expected to be in uniform on Friday when Maine takes on the Greensboro Swarm. Davis, a 6-foot point guard, originally made the team out of open tryouts as an undrafted guard in 2017.
  • Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Brown have become the latest ex-NBA players to sign with Ice Cube’s BIG3 league this summer, the association announced (Twitter links). Perkins, a bruising center who spent 15 seasons in the NBA, played a key role in helping the Celtics win a championship in 2008. Brown, a high-flying guard who held stints with several different teams, won two NBA championships as a member of the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

Kendrick Perkins Seeking One More NBA Shot, Talked To Celtics

After making a brief comeback last season, veteran big man Kendrick Perkins is looking for another shot with an NBA club this season. As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston details, Perkins said on Wednesday that he reached out to the Celtics to inquire about a potential reunion with his old team.

“I did reach out to (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge),” Perkins said. “I told him, ‘I’m here if you need me.’ He said, ‘You know what, Perk? I would love for you to end your career here.’ And I was like, ‘OK, keep me in mind.'”

During an appearance on Toucher & Rich on Thursday morning, Ainge acknowledged that he had spoken to Perkins, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets. However, while the former Celtics center may be on Boston’s radar, it doesn’t sound like a deal will happen anytime soon.

“I don’t think it’s a good fit for our team right now,” Ainge said. “You never know what happens during the course of a season.”

According to Blakely, Perkins said that if he returns to the NBA, it likely won’t happen until at least January, when teams become eligible to sign players to 10-day contracts. And no matter where he ends up playing, the 34-year-old expects 2018/19 to be his final NBA season, Blakely adds.

Perkins didn’t specify any other potential destinations besides Boston, but indicated that he has drawn interest from a couple other clubs and will probably work out for one of them in early December, per Blakely. Citing a source close to Perkins’ camp, Ben Stinar of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter link) identified the Wizards and Timberwolves as ideal fits, so those may be the two other teams the 14-year veteran was referencing.

Perkins signed with the Cavaliers at the end of the 2017/18 season, appearing in his first NBA game since April 2016. However, his 15 minutes of action in Cleveland’s regular season finale represented his lone appearance for the team — he didn’t see the floor at all during the playoffs.

Central Notes: Love, Middleton, Perkins, Pistons

Earlier tonight, we heard talk of the Cavaliers sending Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless. While we wait to see if anything materializes in Cleveland, let’s take a look at some notes from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are not shopping Kevin Love, though he could be on the move if the right offer presents itself, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst mentions on the Lowe Post podcast. The scribe adds that Khris Middleton is in the same boat with the Bucks not deeming him untouchable nor looking to deal him.
  • Cleveland waived Kendrick Perkins to “do right” by the big man and allow him to pursue training camp deals, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers signed Perkins on the final day of the 2017/18 regular season back when LeBron James was still on the roster. The team had hoped to use Perkins’ contract as part of an offseason trade.
  • The Pistons have added Tim Grgurich and Micah Nori as assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, Ansar Khan of Mlive.com relays.
  • Alex Boeder of NBA.com examines what Brook Lopez will bring to the Bucks. Lopez should be able to help the team stretch the floor with his three-point shot, as over 40% of his shots from the field last came from behind the arc.
  • FIBA has banned Bucks center Thon Maker for three games in international play for his part in a brawl during a game in the Philippines earlier this month, according to an ESPN report. Maker said he disagreed with the decision in a written statement that was released on his Twitter account.

Cavaliers Waive Kendrick Perkins

The Cavaliers have waived veteran center Kendrick Perkins, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Perkins will clear waivers and become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday, assuming he goes unclaimed.

Perkins, who had been out of the NBA since the 2015/16 season, caught on with the Cavs at the end of the season, signing with the club before the playoffs got underway. The 33-year-old big man played 15 minutes in Cleveland’s regular-season finale, but didn’t see any action during the postseason, though he was involved in a couple sideline incidents involving Drake and Draymond Green.

Perkins’ contract with the Cavs included a team option for the 2018/19 campaign, which Cleveland exercised last month. That option decision didn’t guarantee Perkins’ salary for the coming season though, so the club won’t be on the hook for his $2.45MM salary and cap charge.

The move won’t open up any extra cap room for the Cavs, but it will create a little extra flexibility below the luxury tax line. That will give the team more options as it weighs re-signing Rodney Hood and/or using the mid-level exception.

Cavs Pick Up Perkins’ Option For Trade Purposes

JUNE 28: The move is now official, according to RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

JUNE 27: The Cavaliers have decided to pick up their $2.445MM option on center Kendrick Perkins contract, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports. Cleveland had to make a decision by Friday whether to pick up his option.

The move was made to give the Cavs the option of adding his contract for a potential trade, McMenamin continues. Perkins’ salary is still non-guaranteed, but it would become guaranteed if he’s included in a trade. This also signals that Cleveland isn’t afraid to add to its already bloated payroll in order to improve the team, despite the uncertainty of LeBron James‘ future with the franchise.

A no-trade restriction on Perkins will be lifted on July 11.

Perkins, 33, was signed the last day of the regular season and appeared in that game but didn’t play in the postseason. He also played for Cleveland during the preseason.

He hadn’t appeared an NBA game since the 2015/16 season with the Pelicans.

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.”