Kyle Lowry

Kyler’s Latest: CP3, Holiday, Lowry, G. Hill, Gibson

Chris Paul and the Clippers essentially have a verbal agreement in place for a new contract this summer, sources close to the process tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Although the star point guard is technically eligible for an extension now, he can get a longer-term – and more lucrative – deal by re-signing with the club in July.

A verbal agreement isn’t binding, so things could change between now and July, but Paul has always been viewed as likely to remain in Los Angeles. As Kyler notes, the 31-year-old will be eligible to sign a new five-year contract worth more than $200MM this offseason, so as long as the Clippers are willing to put that offer on the table – and it seems they are – there’s virtually no chance of CP3 changing teams.

Kyler’s latest Basketball Insiders piece also features several other interesting tidbits related to players on expiring contracts, so let’s round up a few of the highlights…

  • Other free agent point guards who are strong bets to re-sign with their current teams: Stephen Curry (Warriors), Jrue Holiday (Pelicans), and Kyle Lowry (Raptors). According to Kyler, New Orleans is prepared to offer Holiday the max, or something close to it, while Toronto is willing to make a similar offer to Lowry, as long as he wants to remain with the team.
  • Like Paul, teammates Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick are viewed as highly likely to re-sign with the Clippers this summer, per Kyler. The Thunder were mentioned at one point as a potential suitor for Griffin, but OKC has since added a ton of salary to its 2017/18 books, and Kyler suggests that Griffin was never all that interest in returning to Oklahoma, where he played his college ball.
  • Sources close to the George Hill situation say the point guard is very happy in Utah. There’s mutual interest in a new deal this offseason between Hill and the Jazz, but it remains to be seen how high the team will be willing to go with its offer, Kyler writes.
  • According to Kyler, the Bulls are interested in re-signing free-agent-to-be Taj Gibson, but there’s a belief that he’ll want to explore other options in free agency, which makes Chicago’s decision this week a little trickier — the club won’t want to risk losing him for nothing.
  • Although Derrick Rose is viewed as very available, his contract will make it difficult to move him, since the Knicks want to maintain cap flexibility, says Kyler.
  • For a few more notes on players with expiring contracts, be sure to check out Kyler’s full piece.

Atlantic Notes: Ibaka, Raptors, Knicks

When the Raptors return from the All-Star Break they won’t have long to incorporate newly acquired Serge Ibaka into their lineup. Team leaders DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are well aware of the fact that they’ll have to hit the ground running, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

With a veteran like Serge who understands fitting in and everything about the league, I don’t think it should take long,” Raptors guard DeRozan said. “It’s on us to hop out the gate and take advantage. […] It’s given us a jolt.”

The Raptors currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 33-24 record but a recent slide has pushed the club out of the No. 2 spot that they occupied for the first few months of the season. The decision to ship core guard Terrence Ross to the Magic in exchange for Ibaka raises the stakes for the franchise.

We ain’t got time. You know that,” Lowry said. The Raptors return to action Friday.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

Hoops Links: Lowry, Embiid, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Nicholson

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at [email protected]. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Raptors Rumors: Ibaka, Gallinari, Gibson, Ross

The Raptors’ hold on a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference is tenuous, as the team has won just four of its lost 14 games to slip to 32-23, fourth in the East. While injuries have played a part in Toronto’s slump, the club could use some roster reinforcements, particularly at the power forward spot, where the Raptors have been on the lookout for a long-term solution in recent years.

Here’s the latest on the reigning Atlantic division champs:

  • The Raptors have been “actively involved” in discussions for at least three power forwards, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, who identifies Serge Ibaka, Danilo Gallinari, and Taj Gibson as potential targets. Ibaka and Gallinari have been linked to Toronto recently, but Gibson hasn’t been mentioned in many trade rumors this season. Back in July, a report indicated that the Raptors had been close to acquiring Gibson before Dwyane Wade agreed to join the Bulls.
  • The Raptors are “playing hardball” in trade talks, per The Sporting News. A source tells Deveney that the club has resisted the idea of giving up Terrence Ross, and Deveney says Toronto also wants to keep Bruno Caboclo, who is a “project the team wants to complete itself.”
  • According to Deveney, the Raptors are reluctant to give up substantial packages for players like Ibaka, Gallinari, and Gibson, who are all eligible for unrestricted free agency in the summer.
  • Following the Raptors’ Sunday loss to the Pistons, Kyle Lowry aired his frustrations during a conversation with reporters. The star point guard suggested that things need to change in Toronto, and his comments were interpreted by many as a veiled criticism of head coach Dwane Casey. However, Lowry said today that he wasn’t directing his comments at anyone in particular, and Casey stressed that the club is sticking together through its rough patch (Twitter links via Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun and Josh Lewenberg of TSN).

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Okafor, Knicks, Simmons

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry expressed a desire for unspecified changes after the club squandered a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead to the Pistons on Sunday night, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Lowry told Lewenberg that “Something gotta give, something gotta change” following the 102-101 home loss, adding that “I have an idea” what should change but wouldn’t disclose it publicly. Lowry, who can opt out and become a free agent this summer, added that “I’m starting to get worried” because “it’s not going the way we’re supposed to be going.”  (Twitter links). Lowry’s comments reflect the feelings of backourt partner DeMar DeRozan, who said he would welcome some help for the stretch drive. The Raptors have been spinning their wheels lately, going 4-10 over the last 14 games while dropping to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Their two best players are now putting the onus on the front office to make a bold move before the trade deadline.  Lewenberg also tweets that it’s the first time this season that he’s sensed the locker room beginning to splinter.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers forward Jahlil Okafor was not on the team plane during its flight to Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, an indication that a trade could be imminent, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A source told Pompey that a potential trade could not be finalized until Monday, when the league’s legal staff can review paperwork. The Pelicans, Bulls and Trail Blazers are apparently the potential trade partners for Okafor. The Nuggets and Sixers reportedly halted talks after Denver reached a trade agreement with the Blazers to acquire big man Mason Plumlee.
  • The controversies swirling around the Knicks will make it more difficult for them to attract impact free agents, Al Iannazzone of Newsday argues. New York already struck out in its attempts to land top free agents in past summers and the circus-like atmosphere will only hinder its future efforts, especially since owner James Dolan seems committed to have team president Phil Jackson finish out his contract, Iannazzone continues. Rather than focusing on trying to trade Carmelo Anthony, Jackson should look to move pending free agents Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, as well as expendable big man Kyle O’Quinn, before the trade deadline, Iannazzone adds.
  • Evaluating the pairing of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid remains a goal for the Sixers this season, Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. GM Bryan Colangelo indicated in a radio interview that it would aid the front office in deciding which moves to make this offseason, Tannenwald adds.  “If it does play out where they both play together, and we have a good sample size, a body of work to base some further decisions on, it certainly will help us as we move into the draft and into free agency this summer,” Colangelo told 97.5 The Fanatic.

Blazers Duo, Embiid Fail To Make All-Star Cut

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, the Blazers backcourt duo Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and Jazz center Rudy Gobert were among the prominent players who failed to make the cut on the Western Conference All-Star reserve unit, which was unveiled on Thursday and relayed on the NBA’s Twitter feed. Joel Embiid, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony were some of the notable names who didn’t make the cut on the Eastern Conference squad. (Twitter links).

Russell Westbrook,  Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan and Gordon Hayward received the most votes by the conference’s coaches, who pick the reserves. Westbrook, of course, was the biggest snub among the All-Star starters as the fan voting, which counted for 50% toward the overall balloting, put him behind Stephen Curry and James Harden.

Paul George, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker and John Wall were named the Eastern Conference’s All-Star reserves.

Did the coaches get it right or was there an obvious mistake on their part? Go to the comments section and weigh in.

And-Ones: All-Star Snubs, BIG3, Team USA

The starters for this year’s NBA All-Star Game were announced this week and, as always, people were quick to disagree with the players selected. Unique this year is the fact that fans don’t shoulder all of the blame. This year the fans accounted for just 50% of the vote, while the media accounted for 25% and players accounted for 25%.

There were plenty of hot takes about what should have happened, but none more memorable than Clippers head coach Doc Rivers‘ regarding the snub of Russell Westbrook. To ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Rivers said: “Fake news. I am just shocked that fans don’t see the same things we see.”

Also among Westbrook supporters were Sam Amick of USA Today and Kevin Garnett.

This might be the league’s all-time history snub right here,” Garnett said on his TV show Area 21. “Seriously. He has to be on the team, bruh.”

Another guard left out of the starting lineup was Kyle Lowry and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today made a case for him over either Kyrie Irving or DeMar DeRozan.

Lang Whitaker of NBA.com discussed the official list of starters.

There are more general headlines from around the league:

  • Count Ricky Davis and Al Harrington among the retired players expected to sign on with the BIG3, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
  • With the trade deadline a month away, Keith Smith of RealGM explored the most tradeable contracts in the NBA. Draymond Green, for example, looks to be a bargain given the under-market deal he signed in 2015.
  • A report at NBA.com implies that LeBron James could play for Team USA in the 2020 Olympics. The fact that Gregg Popovich will lead the program has had a significant impact. “It factors a lot,” James said. “I’ve said that before. He’s just a great mastermind of the game of basketball.”

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Lowry, Lopez

Much has changed over the course of the first two and a half months of the season, writes John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Sixers are now faced with different circumstances than what they began the year with. Part-way through January, it appears as though Jahlil Okafor — and not Nerlens Noel — is the most likely to be traded.

Okafor, Smallwood writes, is an impressive big man and goes on to cite the 21-year-old’s All-Rookie team performance last year as one of the reasons why. Even in some recent performances, the center has shown that he’s a solid young player, perhaps capable of averaging 20 and 10 eventually. The emergence of Embiid as a reliable option at the five for the Sixers, has rendered Okafor’s services less necessary than they would be otherwise.

In order to take advantage of Okafor’s value, the Sixers should look to trade the big man in order to reconfigure the balance of their roster and Smallwood gives several examples of players that could theoretically come back to Philadelphia in a trade. Smallwood offers Jaylen Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Doug McDermott as three perimeters threats that could potentially be had in exchange for Okafor.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • It’s too early to think about free agency, Kyle Lowry tells ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, but for whatever it’s worth, the guard considers Toronto “home”. Currently under contract for $12MM with a player option for $12MM in 2017/18, Lowry could net a significant pay raise over the summer if he opts out. “When the time comes, then I will worry about [free agency],” says Lowry. “[The Raptors] will definitely will be an option.
  • The Nets have a decision on Brook Lopez to make prior to the trade deadline, but an injury to Jeremy Lin has made things more complicated, writes Seth Berkman of the New York Times. The franchise would ideally like to see how Lopez and Lin fare together before making a significant change but the tandem has been limited to just a handful of games healthy at the same time.
  • Desperate for a positive development, the Knicks have considered playing Kristaps Porzingis at the five, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. “Sometimes it’s a chance you have to take, but we continue to look over that,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “We just need to mix it up maybe a little more.” Moving Porzingis to the center position would push Joakim Noah to the bench.
  • We discussed the meeting between Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony earlier, but it’s worth adding here that Jackson specifically told the veteran forward he did not subscribe to the criticisms in the now infamous Charley Rosen article, says Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Lin, Sixers, Anthony

The Raptors have two very difficult decisions looming in their pursuit of the top spot in the Eastern Conference, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post opines. They must decide whether to go all-in this season in their quest to knock off the Cavs, which would mean trading off some young pieces for another impact player, preferable a power forward, Bontemps continues. The Magic’s Serge Ibaka and Hawks’ Paul Millsap — forwards that the Raptors have pursued in the past and will become free agents this summer — would be logical targets, in Bontemps’ view. This summer, they’ll have to decide whether to offer point guard and impending free agent Kyle Lowry a max five-year deal worth over $200MM or risk seeing him walk. Lowry will attract numerous suitors but his age — he turns 31 this spring — could make a long-term commitment a risky investment, Bontemps adds.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets are taking a committee approach with point guard Jeremy Lin sidelined again by a hamstring injury, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Coach Kenny Atkinson is rotating Randy Foye, rookie Isaiah Whitehead and Spencer Dinwiddie in Lin’s absence, while shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick is also taking a bigger role in the playmaking duties, Lewis continues. “I think it was ensemble,” Atkinson told Lewis and other media members. “That’s how we’re going to do it.”
  • The Sixers’ frontcourt pairing of Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor has been a colossal failure defensively thus far, as Derek Bodner of Phillymag.com details. In six games since coach Brett Brown paired the two big men in the starting lineup, the Sixers have given up an average of 122.3 points per 100 possessions when they’re on the court. What’s more troubling, as Bodner notes, is that the poor defensive performances have come against sub-par offensive teams.
  • Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek doesn’t believe Carmelo Anthony should have been ejected on Tuesday for swinging his forearm at the head of Hawks swingman Thabo Sefolosha, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. Hornacek asserted that Sefolosha grabbed Anthony around the neck before the forearm swing, though Berman notes that was not apparent on replays while labeling Hornacek’s stance as bizarre. “I don’t blame [Anthony] for what happened, honestly,” Hornacek told Berman. “Watch the replay, watch the action. The guy had his arms wrapped around his neck. … What are you going to do? Just stand there or you going to get the guy off you? It’s a natural reaction.”

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Nogueira, Anthony

Zach Lowe thinks that the Sixers will absolutely make a run at pending free agent Kyle Lowry this summer. The ESPN journalist spoke on his The Lowe Post podcast with Brian Windhorst Thursday, citing several reasons why the franchise could pursue the veteran Raptors point guard.

Lowry is from Philadelphia, Lowe mentions, and has played under ex-Raptors executive Bryan Colangelo previously. On top of that, the Sixers will have an exorbitant amount of cap space and could benefit from the services of a point guard should they ultimately decide to utilize Ben Simmons in ways other than as a traditional playmaker.

Worth noting is that Windhorst believes Cory Joseph to be a suitable replacement for the 30-year-old point guard while Lowe believes that such a drop off would be too much for the Raptors.

Also in the Atlantic Division:

 

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