Louis Labeyrie

Cavs, Lakers, Knicks Officially Complete Rajon Rondo Trade

The Cavaliers, Lakers, and Knicks have officially completed the trade sending Rajon Rondo to Cleveland, the teams announced today in a series of press releases. The deal, which was first reported las Thursday and was expanded today to include New York, breaks down as follows:

  • Cavaliers acquire Rondo (from Lakers).
  • Knicks acquire Denzel Valentine (from Cavaliers), the draft rights to Wang Zhelin (from Lakers), the draft rights to Brad Newley (from Lakers), and $1.1MM in cash (from Lakers).
  • Lakers acquire the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie (from Knicks).

It’s a straightforward swap from Cleveland’s perspective — the Cavaliers simply acquired Rondo in exchange for Valentine. Both players are on minimum-salary contracts, but Rondo’s deal is guaranteed (Valentine’s isn’t) and he fills a greater need for a Cavs team that just lost veteran point guard Ricky Rubio for the season due to a torn ACL.

The Knicks waived Wayne Selden in order to make room on the 15-man room roster for Valentine. Both players are on non-guaranteed contracts, so if New York also cuts Valentine, the amount of money the team ended up paying to Selden and Valentine would work out to just over $800K, which is less than the $1.1MM in cash acquired from L.A.

The Knicks could also hang onto Valentine if they so choose, but that’s reportedly considered unlikely. Waiving him would open up the club’s 15th roster spot.

The Lakers, meanwhile, essentially decided to move on from Rondo and pay the Knicks a little money in order to reduce their end-of-season luxury tax bill and open up a roster spot. The exact amount of money Los Angeles saves will depend on how quickly that roster opening is filled, but the savings will exceed the $1.1MM the club sent to the Knicks. Stanley Johnson, who has played well on a 10-day contract, is a good candidate to become the team’s new 15th man.

The Lakers and Cavaliers will both create small traded player exceptions in the deal. L.A.’s will be worth about $1.67MM, while Cleveland’s will be worth approximately $858K.

This is the NBA’s first trade since October 6.

Cavs’ Rondo Acquisition Now Three-Team Trade Involving Knicks

10:29am: Along with Valentine, the Knicks are acquiring $1.1MM in cash in the deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links), who says New York will give up the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie and will acquire the draft rights to two other players, though none of them are expected to ever play in the NBA.

While we still need some gaps filled in here, I suspect it’s the Lakers – not the Cavs – sending the cash to New York and acquiring Labeyrie’s rights.

New York will decide soon on whether to waive Valentine or have him remain on the roster, Woj adds. As noted below, the Knicks will have to cut a player – likely Selden – in order to complete the deal.

10:20am: The trade sending Rajon Rondo from the Lakers to the Cavaliers, which hasn’t yet been officially finalized, is being expanded to include a third team, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, the Cavs will send Denzel Valentine to the Knicks rather than to the Lakers.

With Rondo going from Los Angeles to Cleveland and Valentine headed from Cleveland to New York, the Knicks will presumably need to send something to the Lakers to complete the deal.

The Lakers may also send a small extra asset to New York to incentivize the Knicks to take on Valentine, whom L.A. reportedly intended to waive. If the Lakers don’t have to acquire a player in the three-team swap, their tax savings will be greater than if they’d cut Valentine and been on the hook for his partially guaranteed cap hit.

Meanwhile, if the Knicks aren’t sending a player out in the deal, they’ll have to waive someone in order to acquire Valentine, whether or not they plan to keep him. Wayne Selden, whose salary isn’t fully guaranteed, is New York’s most likely candidate to be cut.

With a number of details still unclear, we’ll await more info for further clarity. But it sounds like the trade could be officially completed as soon as today.

Knicks Notes: Thibodeau, Kidd, Hardy, Labeyrie

As the Knicks‘ head coaching search continues, presumed frontrunner Tom Thibodeau has received an endorsement from a former Knicks All-Star, as Adam Zagoria of Forbes writes. Patrick Ewing praised Thibodeau during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio with hosts Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok.

“I think Tom’s a great coach,” Ewing said. “I had the opportunity to (play for him), him being on the (Knicks’) staff when I played, and also work with him. He’s been around for a lot of years, he knows the game in and out. He’s gonna do everything that he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”

Although Thibodeau is just one of 11 candidates being considered by the Knicks, reports last month indicated that he was viewed as a favorite for the job. Zagoria also hears from multiple sources that New York is expected to hire someone with previous head coaching experience.

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • The Knicks’ coaching candidates had an initial round of conversations with a group that included president of basketball operations Leon Rose, general manager Scott Perry, and VP of basketball and strategic planning Brock Aller, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Each candidate will have a more in-depth conversation with the team during its second round of meetings, Begley adds.
  • According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, two of the Knicks’ head coaching interviews took place on Thursday, with the team talking to Jason Kidd and Spurs assistant Will Hardy. Those interviews were why the Knicks didn’t take part in the NBA’s Thursday conference call with its bottom eight teams about a possible Chicago campus for offseason mini-camps and exhibition games.
  • Speaking of that proposed Chicago campus, the Knicks aren’t fully on board with that plan, according to Berman, who notes that the club doesn’t have much interest in playing formal games this offseason, especially since many veterans on the roster will be free agents and likely wouldn’t participate. New York is one of a handful of those bottom eight teams that would prefer to hold OTAs in its own home market to evaluate young players.
  • French forward Louis Labeyrie, a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has agreed to extend his contract with Valencia in Spain for at least two more seasons, as Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. The Knicks have held Labeyrie’s NBA rights since ’14, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the 28-year-old will come stateside.

New York Notes: Knicks, Rubio, Nets, Redick

The Knicks, who explored a possible Ricky Rubio deal at the trade deadline, talked internally prior to the draft about revisiting their pursuit of Rubio, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Nothing came of those talks on draft night, and New York nabbed its point guard of the future in Frank Ntilikina with the No. 8 overall pick.

Still, Rubio reportedly remains on the trade block, and Ntilikina likely won’t be ready to step into the starting lineup right away, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the Knicks to see if they make a move for Rubio or another point guard when the new league year begins.

Here are a few more notes on the NBA’s two New York teams:

  • The Nets continue to be cited as a probable suitor for J.J. Redick, with Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reporting that multiple league sources expect both the Nets and Sixers to make a “hard push” for the free agent guard.
  • The Nets had $3.4MM available to use in draft-day deal, but GM Sean Marks didn’t see any prospects worth trading into the second round to acquire, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. As Lewis notes, Brooklyn has until this Friday to use that cash before spending resets for the 2017/18 league year.
  • French big man Louis Labeyrie, whose draft rights belong to the Knicks, will play on the team’s Summer League squad for the third straight July, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman suggests the 2014 second-rounder could have a better chance to earn an NBA contract this time around, with the Knicks in rebuilding mode.
  • Earlier today, our Mark Suleymanov rounded up the highlights of the NetsD’Angelo Russell/Timofey Mozgov introductory presser in Brooklyn.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Knicks, Young, KG

Rookie Nerlens Noel is already essentially the centerpiece of the Sixers, and he has no complaints about the team’s radical rebuilding, as Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com examines. 

“I love the direction that we’re heading in,” Noel said. “I love what [GM] Sam Hinkie is doing with our team: building through the draft, getting young guys and being very particular about the pieces that he brings into this organization. I think this is going to be a very solid team in the next few years and we’re just going to continue to grow together.”

Noel, unlike many other rookies who were drafted in the first round, is set for free agency in 2017, and not 2018, because he signed his rookie scale contract before sitting out the entire 2013/14 season with injury. So, it appears he’ll benefit from a cap surge instead of a potential cap drop like his fellow rookies, as I examined. Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The amount of cash the Knicks sent the Pacers this past June for the rights to 57th overall pick Louis Labeyrie was $1.5MM, a league source told Marc Berman of the New York Post. That counted against New York’s 2013/14 traded cash limit and doesn’t apply toward the $3.3MM the team can send out in trades between the end of the regular season and June 30th this year. Labeyrie recently signed a one-year extension with Paris Levallois in France, so a buyout would have to be paid for him to sign with the Knicks for next season, according to Berman.
  • The Netsacquisition of Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett helped the team get younger, but it doesn’t erase the ill-fated trade for Garnett and Paul Pierce from 2013, opines Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Garnett did fill a leadership role, but no one has stepped into that void in his absence, Bondy also argues.
  • Brooklyn owes its first-round pick to Boston in 2016 because of that Garnett-Pierce trade, and Tim Bontemps of the New York Post examines how that dynamic and others makes Young’s decision about his player option for next season a crucial one for the Nets.
  • The Celtics have once more assigned James Young to the D-League, the team announced. It’s the 10th time that Boston has sent 2014’s 17th overall pick on D-League assignment this season, though none of his previous nine trips have covered more than three days.

Louis Labeyrie To Remain Overseas

Knicks second-round pick Louis Labeyrie will remain with Paris-Levallois of France rather than sign with New York for the coming season, as Shams Charania of RealGM writes in an update to his story about fellow Knicks second-rounder Thanasis Antetokounmpo. The news on Labeyrie means New York will stash two of its three second-rounders from this past June, with Antetokounmpo apparently headed to the D-League. The Knicks signed 34th overall pick Cleanthony Early to a minimum-salary deal a few weeks ago.

The Pacers took Labeyrie 57th overall and promptly traded his rights to the Knicks on draft night. The 6’10” forward/center was a surprise selection, having been ranked 115th in Chad Ford’s ESPN.com draft prospect listings, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress also left him out of his top 100. The 22-year-old is coming off a season in which averaged just 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.6 minutes a game for his French team.

Charania suggests that the Knicks will revisit the idea of bringing Labeyrie stateside next summer. It would have been a tough squeeze if New York had tried to bring him onto the roster for this season, since the team is already carrying 15 players. The only Knick known not to have a full guarantee on his deal is Samuel Dalembert, who figures to play a prominent role after coming over in the Tyson Chandler trade.

International Prospects’ Draft Decisions

The deadline for international early entrants to withdraw from the 2013 draft arrives today at 4:00pm central time, so plenty of updates are trickling in on players deciding whether they're in or out. We'll track all of those decisions in this post throughout the day, with new updates being added to the top of each list:


  • Lucas Nogueira and Raul Neto are staying in the draft, agent Aylton Tesch tells Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (on Twitter).
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo will remain eligible to be drafted, his agent announced today on Twitter.
  • German power forward Daniel Theis will be keeping his name in the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.
  • Sergey Karasev will remain in the draft, agent Justin Zanik tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Givony reports (via Twitter) that Alex Abrines and Marko Todorovic are staying in the draft, with agent Igor Crespo saying, "That was the plan all along."
  • French forward Livio Jean-Charles will remain in the draft, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
  • Rudy Gobert will also remain in the draft, according to Ford (Twitter link), which is no surprise, considering he projects as a potential lottery pick.


  • Mouhammadou Jaiteh has decided to withdraw his name from the 2013 NBA Draft, his agent tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld (Twitter link).  He'll return to France for the season.
  • French prospects Louis Labeyrie and Axel Toupane have withdrawn their names from the draft, their agent told Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress (on Twitter).
  • Greek small forward Linos Chrysikopoulos has removed his name from the draft pool, agent Mike Main tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Big man Walter Tavares has withdrawn his name, agent Guillermo Bermejo tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Adin Vrabac, Artem Pustovyi and Bogdan Bogdanovic have also pulled out of the draft, reports Givony (via Twitter).
  • Philipp Neumann has withdrawn his name from consideration, tweets Givony.
  • Francois Affia Ambadiang has pulled out of the draft, agent Alex Saratsis tells Givony (Twitter link).
  • Givony adds four more names to the list of players exiting the draft: Nemanja Besovic, Matias Bortolin, Djordje Drenovac, and Marko Ramljak (Twitter link).

Draft Updates: Theis, Gobert, Napier, Jefferson

We heard earlier today that Miami's Shane Larkin will enter this year's draft, but he's not the only prospect making a decision on whether or not to go pro. Here are a few more Friday updates on potential early entrants:

  • German big man Daniel Theis has elected to enter the draft, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com (Twitter link), who has Theis ranked eighth among 1992-born international prospects.
  • Rudy Gobert, who may be this year's top international prospect, has officially entered his name in the draft, agent Bouna Ndiaye tells DraftExpress (Twitter link). We had previously heard that the French big man, who Givony projects as a potential lottery pick, would likely declare his intent.
  • Ndiaye also confirms that two of his other clients, Louis Labeyrie and Axel Toupane, have officially entered the draft, tweets Givony.
  • Junior guard Shabazz Napier has decided to return to UConn for his senior season, the school announced today (Twitter link).
  • Baylor's Cory Jefferson has also decided to return to school rather than go pro, as Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com details.

Draft Updates: Neto, Fair, Dedmon, Early Entrants

The NBA's deadline for NCAA underclassmen to withdraw is coming up this Sunday, so within the next few days, we should have a better idea of what this year's list of early entrants will look like. As we look forward to some clarity on that front, we'll check out the latest updates on early entrants, both stateside and overseas….

  • Brazilian point guard Raul Neto will enter the 2013 NBA draft, according to a tweet from Fabio Balassiano, as passed along by Sportando. Neto is ranked ninth among 1992-born international prospects by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com.
  • Junior forward C.J. Fair will return to Syracuse for his senior year rather than going pro, the school officially announced today. "After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me," Fair said in a statement.
  • USC junior center DeWayne Dedmon has declared his intent to enter the draft, according to a press release from the school. "It's just my time to chase my dream and go to the NBA," said Dedmon, who ranks 81st on DraftExpress.com's top 100 and 122nd on Chad Ford's ESPN.com list.
  • Givony's list of early entrants at DraftExpress.com has been updated with agent info for a number of this year's prospects. His list also includes a handful of international early entrants that we didn't have yet on our list, including Rudy Gobert (France), Giannis Adetokunbo (Greece), Marko Todorovic (Montenegro), Louis Labeyrie (France), and Walter Tavares (Cape Verde).