Kyle O'Quinn

Kyle O’Quinn Seeking Release From Sixers?

Sixers center Kyle O’Quinn wanted to be waived today, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). However, Philadelphia doesn’t plan to release him at this time, Pompey adds.

O’Quinn, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent last summer, has played 22 games this season, averaging 3.5 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 10.0 minutes per contest. He has appeared in just three games since the start of January, and the return of two-way player Norvel Pelle to the NBA team figures to push him even further down the depth chart.

Having promoted Pelle today and acquired Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III on Thursday, the 76ers had to open up three roster spots. They did so by trading James Ennis and releasing Trey Burke and Jonah Bolden.

If O’Quinn wanted out, it’s somewhat surprising that Philadelphia wouldn’t have made him one of its cuts, since the veteran has a one-year, minimum-salary contract and is rarely used. But perhaps the team views him as an important depth piece, given Joel Embiid‘s injury history.

The Sixers would have to open up a roster spot in the event they want to sign a player from the buyout market, Pompey notes (via Twitter), so waiving O’Quinn could still be a possibility. If he’s released by March 1 and subsequently signs with a new team, he’d be eligible to participate in the postseason.

O’Quinn has been ruled out for Friday’s game for personal reasons, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.

Eastern Conference Notes: Thompson, Sixers, Horford, Knicks

Kevin Love doesn’t want to see long-time teammate Tristan Thompson get traded, but he understands it might be the best move for both him and the organization, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavaliers are reportedly seeking a first-round pick in return for Thompson, who will be a free agent this summer. If Cleveland can’t find an acceptable deal, management still has interest in re-signing the 28-year-old center or possibly working out a sign-and-trade.

“That’s my brother, man,” Love said. “I would always go to war with him. I would run through a wall for him. He’s the best. Just the type of guy he is, he’s a lifelong friend of mine, so it would be tough to see him go. I would like to have him around selfishly, but if there’s a better situation out there for him, going to make him happier, have a chance to win a championship, then so be it. I only know Tristan Thompson as a Cavalier and I like it that way.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference as the trade deadline draws nearer:
  • Trey Burke, Kyle O’Quinn and Jonah Bolden were all absent from the Sixers‘ shootaround this morning, tweets Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Philadelphia has to trim two players from its roster by 3pm Eastern to complete a trade that will bring Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from the Warriors in exchange for three second-round draft picks.
  • Al Horford hinted at trouble in the Sixers‘ locker room in comments after Wednesday’s practice, relays Jon Johnson of KYW Radio (Twitter link). “There’s some stuff going on in our locker room,” Horford said, “and we’ll keep that internal.”
  • A pair of Knicks youngsters have signed with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports (via Twitter) that Mitchell Robinson is one of Paul’s newest clients, while Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) says Allonzo Trier has joined Klutch Sports too.

Sixers Sign Kyle O’Quinn

JULY 11: The Sixers continue to finalize their contract agreements from the first week of free agency, announcing today in a press release that they’ve officially signed O’Quinn.

JULY 1: Veteran big man Kyle O’Quinn will sign a one-year contract with the Sixers, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice tweets.

O’Quinn will receive the veteran’s minimum and provide depth behind Joel Embiid and Al Horford, who has committed to the Sixers in free agency.

O’Quinn will be joining his fourth team during his NBA career. He played three seasons for the Magic and another three for the Knicks. Last season, he played a backup role for the Pacers, appearing in 45 games and averaging 3.5 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 8.2 MPG.

In a separate transaction, the team has renounced the rights to 2017 first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks, Sam Amick of The Athletic tweets. The 23-year-old center was a draft-and-stash prospect. Pasecniks wants to play in the NBA next season and the Sixers did not want to add him to the roster due to salary-cap issues, Amick adds in another tweet. Pasecniks’ cap hold was $2.1MM.

Trade Rumors: KCP, J. Parker, O’Quinn, R. Lopez

In addition to doing their best to pry Anthony Davis away from the Pelicans, the Lakers have reportedly explored a deal with the Bulls involving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jabari Parker. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported as much on the Hoop Collective podcast this week, as Matthew Moreno of LakersNation.com relays.

There are a number of potential roadblocks to such a deal. For one, the Lakers would have to include at least one more piece in order to match salaries, since Parker is earning $20MM and Caldwell-Pope has a $12MM cap hit. Most of the Lakers’ other expiring contracts are tied up in their offer for Davis, though they’d be available to move if the Pelicans decide to hang onto AD through the deadline.

Additionally, Caldwell-Pope has the ability to veto a trade, which is why he hasn’t been included in any of the Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans for Davis. Windhorst suggests that the Bulls “really like” Caldwell-Pope, so if KCP reciprocates that interest, perhaps he’d sign off on a deal. But it’s unclear whether he’d agree on a move that would send him from a playoff contender to a lottery team. For what it’s worth, Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times hears that Caldwell-Pope doesn’t appear to be interested in the Bulls.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

Central Notes: Oladipo, Pacers, Dunn, Bucks

Pacers guard Victor Oladipo knew right away that the injury he suffered tonight was significant, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. There are concerns that Oladipo may need surgery on his right knee that will keep him out for the rest of the season, but the team will await the results of an MRI tomorrow before making a decision.

“I just slipped and knew it was serious,” he told reporters after tonight’s game. “We’ll see what tomorrow shows and go from there. My teammates stepped up earlier this season and everyone has the utmost confidence going forward.”

Oladipo is Indiana’s top scorer at 19.2 points per game and leads the team in steals with 1.7 per night. He made the All-Star Game for the first time last season and was in contention for another trip this year.

“It’s tough watching our best player go down,” teammate Darren Collison said in a video tweeted by the Pacers. “Not just because he’s our best player but because he’s one of the best people to be around.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers have two weeks until the trade deadline to figure out how they want to proceed without Oladipo, writes Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Indiana is third in the East at 32-15 and making the playoffs shouldn’t be a concern, but Woo states that it’s hard to see the Pacers having any postseason success without Oladipo. He notes that they have roughly $59MM in expiring contracts in Collison, Tyreke Evans, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Cory Joseph and Kyle O’Quinn that could be moved for future assets if they decide to play for next season. Indiana will be in position to offer a max contract this summer, but Woo notes that the team’s bargaining power with free agents could be reduced if Oladipo’s rehab stretches into next season.
  • Bulls point guard Kris Dunn had extra motivation in his matchup with Hawks rookie Trae Young tonight, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Even though Chicago’s front office assured Dunn that he was the team’s point guard of the future, they brought in Young for a pre-draft workout and had legitimate interest in selecting him, Cowley writes. Dunn prevailed in the individual matchup, holding Young to a 1-for-12 shooting night, but Atlanta won the game.
  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers become a minority investor in the Bucks when he bought a 1% share of the team last year, but he tells Jim Owczarski of Packers News that he might be interested in expanding his role in the future. “When I’m done playing, there’s going to have to be something to fuel the competitive juices,” Rodgers said, “and being involved in sports would be great as long as it’s not commenting or maybe a GM. The ownership part seems a little more my speed and what I want to do when I retire from sports.”

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Knox, O’Quinn, Durant

David Fizdale enjoyed working as a television commentator and might have stayed in that role longer if not for the opportunity with the Knicks, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Fizdale called TV work a  “comfortable” job without “the stress of coaching,” but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to build a winner in New York. He had interviews with several teams and turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to take the Knicks’ job.

Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his first year as a head coach, but injuries slowed the team last season and he was fired after 17 games in the midst of a well-publicized clash with Marc Gasol. That led to his job as an ESPN analyst.

“I went in there just force-feeding culture down everyone’s throat,” Fizdale said of his time in Memphis. “I had a small window, I felt, with those guys. So I really tried to fast-track everything. And there’s just some things you can’t rush. You can’t rush relationships, you can’t rush trust, you can’t rush the culture.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks are hoping to get injured rookie Kevin Knox back in the lineup soon, possibly by Friday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox suffered a sprained ankle in the third game of the season, and his father says he could be ready to return sometime between Friday and November 10. A tweet from the Knicks yesterday relays that Knox is making “good progress” and has “advanced to participating in shooting drills and non-contact court activity.”
  • Former Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn tells Berman it wasn’t an easy decision to leave New York and sign with the Pacers over the summer (Twitter link). “It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made as far as making a choice in my career,” O’Quinn said. “I slept on it, prayed on it. I made the decision and I’m sticking with it. It’s no secret I would’ve loved to play for Fizdale or be here. It’s tougher than telling a girl you’re moving on.’’
  • The close relationship between Knicks assistant coach Royal Ivey and Warriors star Kevin Durant may give New York an edge in free agency next summer, Berman suggests in another story. They both went to college at Texas and Durant is the godfather of Ivey’s daughter.

Central Notes: Love, Harrison, Kennard, O’Quinn

The Kevin Love trade watch is already under way in Cleveland, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The Cavaliers were hoping to continue their streak of playoff appearances after losing LeBron James, but they haven’t looked like contenders in any way during an 0-3 start, especially in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Hawks.

Love has been among the few bright spots, averaging 20.7 PPG and 14.3 RPG, but at age 30 he seems out of place on a team that may have to get serious about rebuilding. The four-year, $120MM extension he signed this summer may make him more attractive on the trade market, Bontemps suggests, just as a similar deal did for Blake Griffin last summer. Love won’t become trade eligible until late January, and the Cavs could be well out of the postseason race by then

There’s more today from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls have an abundance of point guards after signing Shaquille Harrison over the weekend, notes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Kris Dunn is expected to take over the starting role when he returns from paternity leave tonight, with Harrison and former Suns teammate Tyler Ulis in reserve, along with Cameron Payne and Ryan Arcidiacono. Harrison hopes to use his defensive prowess to help him emerge from the pack. “It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “When I found out, I was extremely excited and ready to get down here and get to work. It was an unfortunate situation in Phoenix, but I’m going to take full advantage of it here in Chicago.”
  • Coach Dwane Casey’s lineup shuffling led to Luke Kennard not playing at all on Saturday after being in the starting lineup for the season opener, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. The new Pistons coach is working his way through a crowded rotation and has used point guards Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith at the same time, cutting down on the available wing minutes.
  • Free agent addition Kyle O’Quinn paid early dividends for the Pacers in Saturday’s win over the Nets, states Scott Agness of The Athletic. With Domantas Sabonis ruled out shortly before game time, O’Quinn stepped in with 16 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks. “This is what we brought him here for,” coach Nate McMillan said. “… There are going to be nights where we’re going to need him. Domas was out, (Kyle) stepped in and he was ready to go, and played a really, really good game for us.”

Contract Details: Redick, Bertans, Clippers, O’Quinn

J.J. Redick‘s new deal with the Sixers gives him plenty of protection in the unlikely event that Philadelphia wants to trade him. Because he re-signed on a one-year deal and will have Early Bird rights at the end of it, he receives the ability to block any trade involving him during the 2018/19 league year, since he’d lose those Early Bird rights in the event that he’s moved.

On top of that, Redick has a 7.5% trade kicker in his new deal, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), which would give him a bonus if the Sixers do trade him and he approves the deal. That bonus would be worth about $919K, since Redick’s new contract has a value of $12.25MM, per Pincus.

Here are a few more details on newly-signed contracts, courtesy of Pincus:

  • The Spurs‘ new two-year agreement with Davis Bertans has a base value of $7MM annually, but Bertans can also earn $250K in unlikely incentives per year (Twitter link). The deal can be worth up to $14.5MM in total.
  • The Clippers split their full mid-level exception right down the middle, with Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott each receiving $4,320,500 (Twitter link). L.A. will be hard-capped this season as a result of using the full MLE.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt, the 41st overall pick in this year’s draft, got a three-year, minimum-salary contract from the Nuggets with two fully guaranteed seasons (Twitter link). The third year will be non-guaranteed until July 15, 2020.
  • Kyle O’Quinn received the Pacers‘ full room exception ($4.449MM) on his one-year contract (Twitter link).

Central Notes: LaVine, Pacers, Cavaliers, Calderon

Fresh off the Bulls officially matching the Kings’ fully guaranteed, four-year $78MM offer sheet to Zach LaVine, the 23-year-old combo guard says he is ready to prove all of the doubters wrong who wonder whether he is worth the nearly $80MM in guaranteed money that he will earn from the Bulls, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I’m my hardest critic,” LaVine said Sunday during the Bulls’ summer league game against the Lakers in Las Vegas. “There’s nothing that any of you guys can say to me that I [don’t] take harder upon myself. I go back and critique my game every year. I’m used to people sleeping on me, and I’m also used to waking them up as well. I’m happy that I have this contract, and I’m happy that I have a little extra motivation to go out there and prove it to some people that don’t believe in me.”

“At the end of the day, I believe in myself, I believe in my work, and I’m going to show the city of Chicago it’s a good choice and I’m here to stay. I’m going to be their guy, and I’m ready to do whatever to help this team get back to that spot.”

And despite saying publicly that he was disappointed the Bulls hadn’t done more to lock him in as a restricted free agent when the free-agency period opened, LaVine backtracked from those comments after the deal with the Bulls became official, saying that he simply meant he never wanted to sign an offer sheet because he wanted to stay in Chicago so badly.

“I think a lot of that got taken out of context,” LaVine said. “The main thing that I wanted to get my point across was I wanted to just deal with Chicago. I never wanted to get [to] a point of [having to sign] an offer sheet. Regardless of whatever happened, I’m going to put that behind us. I’m happy as hell that I’m going to be able to play for the team that I want to play for.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers found unexpected success this past season and the front office deserves credit for avoiding complacency, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com opines. Indiana brought in Kyle O’Quinn, Tyreke Evans, and Doug McDermott on mid-sized deals, all moves designed to help them compete in a now-weakened Eastern Conference.
  • The Cavaliers, who are still searching for another assistant coach on head coach Tyronn Lue‘s bench, interviewed Warriors assistant coach Willie Green and Sixers assistant coach John Bryant recently, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Green has since re-upped with Golden State.
  • Because he signed a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, Jose Calderon likely could have chosen to play wherever he wanted to this upcoming season, opines Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. But he ended up picking the Pistons simply because he believes they can be a good team. And although he’ll likely slot in behind Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith on the depth chart, it’s possible new coach Dwane Casey could play two point guards at the same time, thereby opening up playing time for Calderon.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Pacers Sign Kyle O’Quinn

JULY 9: The Pacers have published a tweet welcoming O’Quinn to the team, signaling that the signing is now official.

JULY 6: The Pacers have reached a contract agreement with free agent center Kyle O’Quinn, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that O’Quinn will sign a one-year, $4.5MM deal with Indiana.

O’Quinn, 28, enjoyed the most productive season of his career in 2017/18, establishing new career highs in PPG (7.1), RPG (6.1), FG% (.582), and several other categories in 77 games (18.0 MPG) for the Knicks. Coming off a successful year in New York, O’Quinn was one of the few veterans in the NBA who turned down a player option for 2018/19.

That player option was worth approximately $4.26MM, so O’Quinn appears poised to exceed that salary on his new deal with the Pacers. Based on the reported terms, it appears that Indiana will use its room exception, worth $4.449MM, to finalize its deal with the veteran center after using up the rest of its cap space.

The Pacers have been busy this week, striking a three-year, $22MM deal with sharpshooting forward Doug McDermott early in free agency, then agreeing to terms on a one-year, $12MM pact for Tyreke Evans. Those two deals are expected to eat up just about all of Indiana’s cap space, but even after using their room exception on O’Quinn, the club will able to add minimum-salary players.

Before reaching an agreement with the Pacers, O’Quinn reportedly met with the Clippers and drew interest from the Sixers and Pelicans.

In Indiana, O’Quinn will join a talented and versatile frontcourt that features Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Thaddeus Young, and T.J. Leaf. With Al Jefferson and Trevor Booker no longer in the mix, there should be a regular rotation role available for O’Quinn.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.