The Clippers view San Antonio as a serious threat to sign Chris Paul this summer, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. “Mutual interest” between Paul and the Spurs was suggested earlier this week by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, and L.A. officials see that as a concern despite San Antonio’s lack of cap space. Paul is expected to use an early-termination option and hit the free agent market. He is eligible for a five-year deal worth about $205MM from the Clippers and four years at roughly $152MM from anyone else. The Spurs only have about $10MM in cap room right now, with Dewayne Dedmon ($3MM) and David Lee ($1.6MM) both owning player options.
Welcome back to Hoops Links. Here we round up some of our favorite blog content that we come across over the course of the week. As always, we’d like to encourage writers to send us their best stuff for possible inclusion in future editions. Remember, what we’re looking for is unique, entertaining material that showcases why the internet is so gosh darn fun.
Send your best pieces to HoopsRumorsTips@Sports.ws or simply yell at me on Twitter (@AustinKent). Similarly, you can flag down any Hoops Rumors staffer at a grocery store and immediately hit them up with a choreographed dance routine explaining why your Jared Dudley hot take deserves top recognition in next week’s link dump.
Note: We typically publish Hoops Links on Thursday, but next week’s edition will be published on Friday (June 2). This will be a one-time change so that we can all observe Smush Parker‘s birthday privately with our families. We’ll slide back to Thursday for Hoops Links Vol. 7 on June 8.
The skill set that Ben Simmons has shown and the college numbers he produced during his one year at LSU are on par with some of the greatest of our generation. Much of his success, however, will come down to circumstance. Can the Sixers ensure that Simmons is in a situation to live up to his potential? Or, as Kwame Fisher-Jones of the 76er Files cautions, is he destined to underachieve like similarly versatile former Sixers forward Derrick Coleman?
When LeBron James clanged a wide open dunk off the back of the rim in Game 4 of the Cavaliers–Celtics series, it robbed Kevin Love of a potential Assist of the Year. Not surprisingly, Carter Rodriguez of Fear the Sword has put the wheels in motion to file a formal petition to credit the big man with a much deserved assist anyway. What even is an assist when you think about it, man?
In a world where nearly everything that takes place on a basketball court is trackable, the one thing that experts can’t seem to quantify is the impact team chemistry has on success. Brian Freeman of Blazer’s Edge explored the gaps in our understanding of team chemistry and suggests what might play a role in successful organizations capitalizing on it.
The Warriors are the team NBA fans love to hate. Eric He of Blue Man Hoop, however, thinks that everybody needs to slow down, quit hating and actually appreciate the franchise. Given Golden State’s role in revolutionizing the league, he does have a point. Can’t we just be happy for the organization less than five years removed from giving Andris Biedrins a standing ovation for hitting a pair of free throws?
If Chris Bosh is able to fully part ways from the Heat and work his way back onto a basketball court, the Clippers should take a look at him as a possible reserve big man, Blake Harris of Clipperholics writes. Though his health will always be the most important consideration, Bosh could very well be a major steal for whichever club takes a chance on him.
There’s no denying that Kemba Walker has stepped up as the greatest New Generation Hornets player, but is he wasting his prime toiling away in mediocrity? For Swarm and Sting, Elijah Edwards discusses the idea of letting the point guard pursue success elsewhere if the franchise isn’t able to surround him with the help he needs to compete.
Rating: 7 out of 10 Miles Plumlee Contracts
Author: Elijah Edwards
Link: Trading Kemba Walker
When Gordon Hayward hits free agency this summer, he’ll do so as perhaps the most coveted, reasonably attainable option on the market. Evan Dyal of Sir Charles in Charge took a good long look at the five most likely destinations for Hayward, delving beyond simply the Celtics and Jazz, two clubs regarded as frontrunners for his services.
After his first year at the helm, Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder showed that he’s a worthy starter with plenty of room to grow. Thomas Jenkins of Peachtree Hoops recently broke down what might be in store for the 23-year-old, suggesting that so long as Schroder continues to develop, the club’s future looks bright.
Admit it, you knew that it wouldn’t be long before the thorough analysis would come regarding whether or not the Celtics truly need Isaiah Thomas. For Nylon Calculus, Ian Levy broke down the situation, including Boston’s improbable Game 3 victory and the squad’s all-around improvement on the defensive end of the ball when Thomas is sidelined. The C’s don’t need to oust Thomas any time soon but they could afford to spare him if the right opportunity arose.
Don’t expect the fourth pick in the NBA Draft to turn things around for the Suns, Valley of the Suns contributor Robert Neal writes. So how does the franchise, then, figure out where to go after a tanked season gone awry? Neal explores ways the Suns can tangibly improve their roster without relying on a rookie.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
There may be substance behind the rumors that Chris Paul would consider joining the Spurs, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. As a guest on a podcast with ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, Lowe suggested there is “mutual interest” between the parties.
Paul is considered certain to exercise his early-termination option and give up nearly $24.27MM for next season. He has a June 29th deadline to make that decision. Paul would be eligible for a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $205MM if he remains with the Clippers.
However, at 32, he may put a greater value on a shot at a championship, and San Antonio, which reached the Western Conference finals this year, could improve his chances.
Money would be a major impediment if Paul decides to go that route, as any team other than L.A. would be limited to an offer of four years at about $152MM. Then there’s the matter of cap room. With Pau Gasol expected to opt in for 2017/18, San Antonio only has about $10MM to spend, a figure that could decrease if Dewayne Dedmon ($3MM) and David Lee ($1.6MM) both decide to opt in for another year.
If Paul’s interest is sincere, it could prompt the Spurs to try to shed some salary before the July 1st start of free agency, especially considering their fragile point guard situation. Incumbent starter Tony Parker suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon in this year’s playoffs and isn’t guaranteed to be ready for the start of next season. He turned 35 in May and has one year left on his contract, so he doesn’t figure to be in the organization’s long-term plans. Backup Patty Mills is headed toward free agency, and Dejounte Murray played just 38 games as a rookie.
If Paul does consider leaving the Clippers, he will be among the most highly sought-after free agents on the market. A nine-time All-Star, he remains among the top point guards in the league, averaging 18.1 points and 9.2 assists this season.
Speights, 29, signed a two-year deal with Los Angeles last summer that included a player option worth nearly $1.46MM for next season. He will be seeking significantly more in a long-term contract this summer.
Speights played all 82 games in his first season with the Clippers, mainly as a reserve, and averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in about 16 minutes per night. A first-round pick by the Sixers in 2008, he has also played for the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Warriors during his nine-year NBA career.
The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.
Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:
All-NBA First Team
- Guard: Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
- Guard: James Harden (Rockets)
- Forward: LeBron James (Cavaliers)
- Forward: Kawhi Leonard (Spurs)
- Center: Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
All-NBA Second Team
- Guard: Stephen Curry (Warriors)
- Guard: Isaiah Thomas (Celtics)
- Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
- Forward: Kevin Durant (Warriors)
- Center: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
All-NBA Third Team
- Guard: John Wall (Wizards)
- Guard: DeMar DeRozan (Raptors)
- Forward: Jimmy Butler (Bulls)
- Forward: Draymond Green (Warriors)
- Center: DeAndre Jordan (Clippers)
Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).
Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.
The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).
Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.
As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.
Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.
Clippers free agent J.J. Redick will get a lot of interest from the Eastern Conference, and the Sixers may be the leading contender, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. In a video posted on the Vertical website, several analysts offer their visions of the future for Philadelphia after winding up with the third pick in next month’s draft. Wojnarowski believes the Sixers will make a strong play for Redick, an 11-year veteran who would fill a position of need at shooting guard while bringing leadership to the locker room. Redick will probably receive offers starting at $16MM to $17MM annually, Wojnarowski predicts, and Philly’s strongest competition for him will come from the Nets, as well as the Knicks if they can clear enough cap room.
There’s more tonight out of Philadelphia:
- The Sixers may try to trade down in the draft, suggests The Vertical’s Bobby Marks in the same video, because there isn’t a perfect fit for them at No. 3. They are believed to have interest in Kentucky guard Malik Monk, who could be available a few picks later. Marks says the Kings, who own picks No. 5 and No. 10, might emerge as a trading partner. He adds that Philadelphia also owns an unprotected Lakers pick next season, an unprotected Kings pick in 2019 and a pick from the Thunder in 2020 that is top-20 protected, all of which could be used as trade assets.
- President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was planning a “measured, organic growth path” if the Sixers came away from Tuesday’s lottery with two picks, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Instead, the Lakers landed in the top three and got to keep their selection for another year, which leads Colangelo to a more aggressive approach that will involve seeking veteran help through trades and free agency. “We are going to have both opportunities available to us now,” he said. “We are going to look at all those alternatives, all those options.” Pompey lists Redick, Kyle Lowry, Otto Porter, Danilo Gallinari and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as free agents the team might target.
- Jahlil Okafor is an obvious candidate to be used as a trade chip, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. The second-year center has been a poor fit in Philadelphia since being drafted in 2015. Many observers expected him to be dealt at the February deadline, but Nerlens Noel was shipped to Dallas instead. “I want to find a situation that’s great for us and great for Jahlil, and if that means him staying here then that’s great,” Colangelo said. “He’s a great kid and a great player and we’re going to see how he fits with this group.”
MAY 15: In a press conference today, the Clippers formally announced the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, unveiling the logo for the new D-League squad (Twitter link). Here’s the full press release from the club.
MAY 9: The Clippers are closing in on unveiling an NBA Developmental League team that will be called the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, league sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.
Agua Caliente Casino Resort, which Stein notes is a prominent NBA sponsor for the Clippers, is finalizing the agreement to join the NBA’s minor league affiliate. Due to the proximity of Ontario, California (approximately 50 miles away from Los Angeles), the Clippers will have the luxury of assigning and recalling players at an accelerated pace.
After the Clippers were eliminated by the Jazz in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs last week, head coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers confirmed the team’s D-League aspirations.
“We will have a team, I can tell you that,” he said. “We are committed to it. The work is in.”
Once this is finalized, the NBA D-League — which will be renamed to the NBA Gatorade League next season — will soon boast 26 teams, four affiliates shy of every NBA team having a developmental team. The only team’s without an NBA D-League team — once the Clippers finalize the Agua Caliente Casino Resort deal — would be the Nuggets, Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Pelicans.
The Suns did not select Kawhi Leonard during the 2011 draft in part because of how he acted during the combine that year, Charles Curtis of USA Today shares. It wasn’t that the MVP candidate was misbehaving or appeared to dismiss the process — it was because Leonard was nervous during interviews. The San Diego State product sweated through his suit and Lance Blanks, who was Phoenix’s GM at the time, apparently took that as a negative indicator.
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post believes the Clippers have the best shot at landing Carmelo Anthony should the 10-time All-Star waive his no-trade clause and leave New York. Bontemps can’t envision coach/executive Doc Rivers passing up on a chance to acquire Anthony if the opportunity presents itself.
- Chauncey Billups, who played with the Clippers for two seasons, believes the team is asking Chris Paul to do too much, as Paul Coro of the Los Angeles Times relays.“This isn’t a jab at anyone but they just don’t have enough guys who can make plays late in games,” Billups said. “They depend too much on Chris.”
- The Kings front office appears more stable than it has in past season, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee details. The scribe writes that the franchise was previously “viewed as a mess,” but now it has a changed approach, something that should help with securing visits from top prospects. Projected No.1 overall pick Markelle Fultz met with the team on Wednesday.