Kyle Lowry

Eastern Rumors: Magic, Mirotic, Parker, Simmons

The Magic will likely be in firesale mode approaching the trade deadline, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Rival executives expect Orlando, which has sunk to the bottom of the conference standings, to shop guards Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton and swingman Mario Hezonja, Stein adds. Fournier is signed through the 2020/21 season at $17MM annually. Payton can become a restricted free agent in the summer, while Hezonja will be an unrestricted free agent after the team declined to pick up his fourth-year option in October.

In other items regarding the Eastern Conference:

  • Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic is now eligible to be dealt and admitted to reporters, including ESPN’s Nick Friedell, that he’s motivated by the trade chatter. He signed a two-year, $27MM contract in September that includes a team option for next season. That made him ineligible to be moved until mid-January. “This is kind of some motivation for me,” he said. “I know it sounds weird. But people are talking, ‘OK, Niko be gone’ and ‘Bye bye, Niko’ or whatever. But for me, it’s OK, just do what you’ve got to do. Play well and try to do your best until the last day and not be distracted.”
  • Bucks forward Jabari Parker believes he’ll make his season debut before the All-Star break, he told Scott Grodsky of CBS 58 in Milwaukee. Parker tore his ACL in February, his second major knee injury since entering the league. Parker, who was assigned to the Bucks’ G League affiliate on Monday to continue his rehab, is targeting “the first two weeks before the All-Star game. It’s probably in that area.”
  • Sixers rookie Ben Simmons vows he won’t back down from a challenge, according to an Associated Press report. Simmons and the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry were ejected during the closing seconds on Monday after an altercation. Simmons believes that veteran opponents are trying to intimidate him. “I don’t know if they’re trying to test me or see how I am on the court, but I won’t play around,” he said.

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

Atlantic Notes: Hardaway, Burke, Fultz, Lowry

Tim Hardaway Jr. returned to practice on Tuesday and while he will likely sit out Wednesday’s against the Bulls, his 20th consecutive missed game, his return is close, Greg Joyce of the New York Post writes. Head coach Jeff Hornacek did not commit to a specific return date for Hardaway but both sides are optimistic it will be soon.

“I think I’m coming back when I’m confident. Right now, we’re close,” Hardaway said. “But it doesn’t matter what I think, it matters what the doctors say and what my training staff and people want me to do after I get the news.”

The Knicks have missed Hardaway’s scoring since he went on the shelf with a stress injury in his left leg. In 21 games before the injury, Hardaway averaged 17.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG.

Check out other Atlantic Division news below:

  • The Knicks are reportedly considering signing Trey Burke to their roster from the G League but Hornacek does not see a clear roster spot for the point guard, Joyce writes in a separate story. Burke has played well for the Westchester Knicks, averaging  26.6 points and 5.3 assists. The roster is currently at 15 players and if Burke is added, it’s expected that Ramon Sessions is released, Joyce notes.
  • Sixers rookie Markelle Fultz played in a five-on-five practice last Sunday and while he was limited, he looked good, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Fultz’s return is “accelerating” but his first NBA season has been disappointing. Jason Concepcion of The Ringer examined Fultz’s mysterious injury and absence.
  • Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was diagnosed with a bruised tailbone and back spasms, according to the Raptors (via Twitter). X-rays on Lowry were negative and he will be evaluated daily. Lowry suffered the injury on Monday against the Nets in Brooklyn after taking a hard fall.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Celtics, Stauskas, LeVert

For all the talk about “The Process,” the Sixers are lagging behind several other organizations that started rebuilding around the same time, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The first year of former GM Sam Hinkie’s plan to collect high draft picks was 2013/14, when the team posted the league’s second-worst record at 19-63, trailing only the Bucks. The Magic were next, followed by the Celtics, Jazz, Lakers, Kings, Pistons and Cavaliers. Cleveland has won a title since then, aided by the return of LeBron James, while Milwaukee, Boston, Utah and Detroit have all turned into perennial playoff contenders.

The Sixers, on the other hand, continue to flounder. They lost their fifth straight game Saturday and have dropped nine of their last 10. Center Joel Embiid remains a health risk, with back tightness and knee problems forcing him to miss eight of the team’s first 32 games. While other teams were able to improve through trades and free agent signings, Pompey notes that Philadelphia didn’t receive much in return for lottery picks Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, while the team’s first significant opportunity in free agency is coming next summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics are hoping to host their first All-Star Game in more than a half century, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The game hasn’t been in Boston since 1964, partly because of concerns that season-ticket holders wouldn’t have access to their regular seats, but Washburn writes that management is proceeding with plans to apply for hosting privileges. “We are going to ask for an application package and we’ll see what happens,” said majority owner Wyc Grousbeck. The next available opening is 2022.
  • The trade that brought Okafor to the Nets reunited former college teammates Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert, writes Tom Dowd of They were part of a talented freshman class that helped Michigan reach the NCAA title game in 2012/13. The former college roommates now have adjoining lockers at Barclays Center. “First class organization,” Stauskas said. “I love it here. I think the thing that I enjoy most is how seriously they take skill development. They’re huge on getting better every day, especially taking care of your body.”
  • The Raptors have the second best record in the East and are winning without excess wear and tear on their star players, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Because of an improved bench, Kyle Lowry is playing 32.9 minutes per night, his lowest total in five seasons, and DeMar DeRozan is at 34.3 minutes, the lowest since he was a rookie.

Kyle Lowry Had Offseason Interest In Spurs

Although he ultimately re-signed with the Raptors when he reached free agency in July this past offseason, veteran point guard Kyle Lowry admits that he had some interest in joining the Spurs, as Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News details. However, Lowry said today that San Antonio didn’t necessarily reciprocate that interest.

“It was real for me, but it wasn’t real for them,” Lowry told Young. “That’s a part of the business that people don’t know. I would have loved to come here (to San Antonio), but it didn’t work out. The conversation didn’t happen. If the conversation happened, I would tell you. But it didn’t happen.

“Not saying that I wanted out, but I did look at teams to see what was going on,” Lowry added. “I mean this place would’ve been a great place.”

At one point, it looked like the Spurs might make an effort to clear cap room to make a run at Chris Paul. However, when Paul decided to join the Rockets, San Antonio didn’t go after another top free agent point guard, opting to re-sign Patty Mills instead.

As for the Raptors, they lost multiple free agents over the summer, including forwards P.J. Tucker and Patrick Patterson, but made strong commitments to Lowry and Serge Ibaka, signing each player to a three-year contract. Lowry’s new deal with Toronto will pay him at least $31MM annually, and could be worth up to $100MM with incentives.

Although Lowry was intrigued by the idea of playing for Gregg Popovich, whom he calls “one of the best coaches in NBA history,” the point guard told Young that he’s pleased with the way things worked out.

“I knew the (Spurs’) culture, but at the end of the day I came back to a situation that was best for me that I loved and (I’m) happy to be in,” Lowry said.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, KP, Smart, Lowry, McDaniels

The Knicks and Carmelo Anthony have officially separated and the organization is moving on from their once perennial All-Star. Now is the time for the Knicks to move on from Anthony through the way the team plays the game, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek now has a retooled roster and the freedom to coach the team his way. Former team president Phil Jackson harped on the triangle offense, which affected Hornacek’s own coaching style and forced the team to run a scheme many players later admitted was uncomfortable. Thus far in training camp, Hornacek said the team is focused on playing at a quicker pace.

“We want to move the ball,’’ Hornacek said. “We’ve had plays out there that I wish I could bottle up and have these guys do it every time. We’ve had some fantastic, six, seven extra passes and a guy nails the shot. We’ll continue to harp on that. We’ll continue to encourage the guys every time that happens, make or miss, and that’s that contagious thing.”

Hornacek also said the Knicks will rely on improved defense even if the team did not necessarily acquire any defensive upgrades. While Anthony was on the roster, he was criticized for holding the ball too long and playing spotty defense. While removing the 10-time all-star will not fix the Knicks, it gives the team a chance find a game plan that works.

Read up on additional news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks GM Scott Perry said to MSG’s Alan Hahn (via ESPN’s Ian Begley) that does not want to put too much pressure on Kristaps Porzingis as the Latvian big man settles in as the team’s franchise player. “I never want to put that much pressure on one individual,” Perry said. “He knows that he needs every one of his teammates to help this team be successful.”
  • Celtics‘ guard Marcus Smart is aware of the massive deals players around the NBA are signing but he is focused on the season and not free agency. “It’s huge; it’s crazy,” Smart said to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. “Those guys definitely deserve it. But like I said, that’s not my focus. I can’t control what those guys are getting. I can only control what I can control.”
  • After signing a massive three-year deal worth up to $100MM to remain in Toronto, Kyle Lowry said to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star his new deal will not kill his desire to be great.
  • K.J. McDaniels has been productive for every team he has played for, and this season he wants to put it all together with the Raptors, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes.
  • While Furkan Korkmaz is likely a year away from having a major NBA impact, David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that the rookie has impressed Sixers officials in training camp.

Contract Incentives: Millsap, Lowry, Holiday, More

Thirty-four players around the NBA have incentives included in their contracts for the 2017/18 season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who notes that total doesn’t include players with trade kickers or bonuses for Summer League participation. Of those 34 players, 14 signed new contracts as free agents during the summer of 2017, including Nuggets big man Paul Millsap, who has several interesting incentives in his new deal.

Millsap will earn an extra $500K on top of his base salary if he earns a spot in the All-Star Game in 2017/18, and would also get a bonus for making an All-NBA team, per Marks. Interestingly, Millsap’s contract also features a handful of incentives related to his defensive play — he’d receive $150K for making the All-Defensive second team, or $250K for a spot on the All-Defensive first team. The Nuggets forward will also be in line for a $150K bonus if he appears in at least 65 games and records at least seven defensive rebounds per 36 minutes.

Here are a few other details of note from Marks’ piece:

  • Kyle Lowry can earn up to an extra $2MM this season based on a series of individual and team accomplishments. If Lowry appears in 65 games and averages at least 25.0 MPG, he can earn bonuses for making the All-Star or All-NBA teams, and for the Raptors reaching the Eastern Conference Finals or NBA Finals.
  • Jrue Holiday‘s potential likely and unlikely incentives for 2017/18 on his new contract with the Pelicans total $4.7MM. Playing in 66 games and totaling at least 2,075 minutes this season would result in an extra $510K bonus for Holiday, for instance.
  • Rudy Gobert‘s extension with the Jazz, which goes into effect this year, pays him an extra $1MM if he’s named to the All-Star team (not as a replacement), plus an extra $750K for making an All-Defensive team and meeting certain rebounding criteria. Another unusual incentive in Gobert’s deal? He makes an extra $250K if his defensive rating is below 100.
  • Dewayne Dedmon‘s new contract with the Hawks includes a fascinating incentive — the center will get $900K if he appears in 41 or more games and averages 16 or more combined points, rebounds, and assists.
  • As Marks notes, unlikely incentives don’t count against a team’s cap hit right now, but they’re considered when taking into account a club’s hard cap. For instance, the Pelicans have $5.4MM in total unlikely bonuses, which reduces their room below the hard cap from about $9.25MM to just $3.85MM.

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).

Raptors Re-Sign Kyle Lowry

JULY 7, 11:39am: The Raptors have officially signed Lowry to his new deal, the team announced today in a press release."<strong

“Kyle has been a valuable part of our team’s success the past five years,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “He has grown as a player and person during his time in Toronto and we are excited that he wants to be here to help us continue building a championship program.”

JULY 2, 4:24pm: Lowry’s new deal with the Raptors will be for three years and $100MM, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That’s just a little less than a maximum salary deal for the veteran point guard, and it includes incentives, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.

4:19pm: The Raptors and Kyle Lowry have agreed to a new deal. Terms of the agreement aren’t yet known, but Lowry has announced in a piece for The Players’ Tribune that he has decided to remain with Toronto.

“I’m coming back to Toronto because my heart is telling me that it’s home — and because staying home, for me and my family, feels like the right thing to do,” Lowry writes. “My heart is telling me that this is the best city in the world, with the best basketball fans in the world. It’s telling me that the Raptors can be a championship-level team, sooner than later. And I’ll be honest (and don’t hate) — it’s telling me that I’ve still never had poutine.”

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

Lowry, 31, entered this summer as one of the top free agents available at point guard or any position. He’s coming off his third straight All-Star season, having averaged a career-best 22.4 PPG to go along with 7.0 APG, 4.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG, and a shooting line of .464/.412/.819. The Philadelphia native was limited to 60 games due to a broken wrist and missed Toronto’s last two postseason contests due to an ankle injury, but will be 100% for the start of the 2017/18 season.

While it wasn’t a sure thing that Lowry would re-sign with the Raptors this season, many of his other potential suitors addressed their point guard position in other ways within the last week or two. For instance, the Sixers drafted Markelle Fultz, the Nets acquired D’Angelo Russell in a trade, and the Timberwolves committed to sign Jeff Teague.

Those moves – and others – all nudged Lowry back in the direction of Toronto, and his return looked more than ever like a lock when Serge Ibaka reached an agreement with the club earlier today. Lowry and Ibaka share an agent, ASM’s Andy Miller, and it made a lot of sense for the team to re-sign one player if the other returned, since the Raps wouldn’t have any cap room to sign a suitable replacement.

With both Lowry and Ibaka back in the fold, the Raptors project to be well over the luxury tax line, but they’re exploring ways to reduce team salary. The club is said to be discussing a Cory Joseph trade with the Pacers, which would move Joseph’s $7.63MM salary in return for draft-pick compensation. DeMarre Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas are also trade candidates, though it would be virtually impossible to move Carroll without attaching an asset or two to him.

Lowry and Ibaka both agreed to three-year deals, which puts them on track to expire in the summer of 2020. That’s the same offseason that DeMar DeRozan will have the chance to opt out and return to the free agent market as well, so it looks like Toronto aims to contend with its same core for at least the short-term future. The Raps will have the opportunity to potentially reconsider their options by that summer of 2020.

The development of some of the Raptors young players could be key in determining whether or not the club can take the next step and truly challenge for a spot in the NBA Finals. Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet, in particular, could be asked to take on larger roles backing up Lowry if Joseph is dealt. Norman Powell also figures to play more minutes with P.J. Tucker headed to Houston, while Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira could see more playing time in the frontcourt if Patrick Patterson departs and/or Jonas Valanciunas is traded.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern FA Rumors: Lowry, Bogdanovic, Celtics

There’s a “growing sense” among executives around the NBA that Kyle Lowry will ultimately sign a new deal with the Raptors, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). Zillgitt says not to be surprised if Lowry gets a three-year deal in the range of $27MM annually from Toronto, which would put him right in the neighborhood of his good friend and teammate DeMar DeRozan — DeRozan’s contract calls for an annual salary of $27,739,975 over the next three years, with a player option worth the same amount in 2020/21.

Here are more free agent updates from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks are among Bojan Bogdanovic‘s most “ardent” suitors, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. As Aldridge observes, Bogdanovic is a restricted free agent, but it will be difficult for the Wizards to match a competitive offer sheet for the sharpshooter if they also have to match a max offer for Otto Porter.
  • The Knicks, who have already been linked to several point guards in the first 24 hours of free agency, have also expressed interest in Shelvin Mack, a source tells Jeff Goodman of
  • Although the Heat‘s recruiting efforts today were focused on Gordon Hayward, the team also made time to show some love to Udonis Haslem, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press details in a pair of tweets. A free agent again this summer, Haslem is probably a good bet to re-sign with Miami on a minimum salary contract.
  • The Celtics, Hayward’s other Eastern Conference suitor, have talked to multiple free agents besides Hayward, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Murphy notes that the most notable conversation has been with Danilo Gallinari, though the two sides hadn’t yet set up a meeting as of this afternoon.