Malik Allen

Eastern Notes: Pistons, J. Brown, Ujiri, Hawks, Heat

Pistons head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski said this week that he isn’t going into the offseason looking to move any of the team’s three highest-paid players – Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson – as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details. However, he did admit that he doesn’t have a clear vision yet for what the rest of the Pistons’ offseason will look like.

“The philosophy right now is we have those three and we’re going with them,” Stefanski said. “But I have no idea what (else is) going to happen.”

The Pistons won’t have any cap room available this summer, but they have the No. 15 pick in the draft, the full mid-level exception (worth approximately $9.2MM) and the bi-annual exception ($3.6MM).

While Detroit is expected to try to add a backup center and a wing or two, a source tells Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that the team’s No. 1 priority will be the point guard spot, with Ish Smith and Jose Calderon headed for free agency. For his part, Stefanski acknowledged that both positions will be of interest to the Pistons this offseason.

“I think free agency is where you look more for (immediate help) than the draft,” Stefanski said, per Ellis. “I think everyone hits it right on the head. We don’t know if we’ll be able to sign Ish, so we need a point guard. We don’t have really a starting wing right now.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Some teams near the top of the draft are wondering about Jaylen Brown‘s availability, tweets Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. There has been no indication that the Celtics would make Brown available, but one report indicated that Boston is among the teams that has considered trading for the No. 4 pick. A player like Brown would likely be needed to make that happen.
  • The Raptors would need “significant compensation” to allow president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri to leave the franchise, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (podcast link). The Wizards were rumored to have interest in Toronto’s top executive, but owner Ted Leonsis shot down those reports on Tuesday.
  • Holding three first-round picks and three second-rounders heading into Thursday’s draft, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk recently said he’s more inclined to package and trade his second-round selections, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). It wouldn’t surprise me if Atlanta makes deals involving picks from both rounds.
  • The Heat officially hired a replacement for Juwan Howard on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff, announcing in a press release that Malik Allen is the club’s newest assistant coach.
  • With Anthony Davis – and Mike Conley – now off the trade market, it will be interesting to see whether the Wizards eventually reconsider their stance on keeping Bradley Beal, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. As Hughes points out, Beal might be the most sought-after prize on the trade block if Washington makes him available.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Heat Notes: Haslem, Johnson, Waiters, Anderson, Allen

Veteran big man Udonis Haslem is training hard three or four days a week with the intensity of someone who wants to play next season, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

While his longtime teammate Dwyane Wade called it a career at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, Haslem remains undecided on his future. He said during the season that he was leaning toward playing another year, and based on Jackson’s latest report, it sounds like that scenario remains very much in play.

Haslem doesn’t have a contract for next season, but the Heat have shown in recent years that they’re willing to keep bringing him back on one-year, minimum-salary contracts, despite the fact that he no longer sees much playing time for the club.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • James Johnson and Dion Waiters are considered available on the trade market this offseason, according to Barry Jackson. While I expect a number of Heat veterans to be “available” in trade talks, it’s telling that Johnson and Waiters are the ones specifically mentioned by Jackson. They both have multiple years left on their contracts, which indicates that the Heat may be looking to carve out more cap room for 2020 in addition to gaining extra flexibility in 2019.
  • Jackson writes that the Heat are expected to buy out Ryan Anderson before July 10, when his salary for 2019/20 would become fully guaranteed. While Jackson’s wording suggests that the Heat might ask Anderson to give up a little salary, the team likely wouldn’t push too hard for that, since the veteran sharpshooter previously agreed to reduce his guarantee for next season.
  • The Heat are expected to hire Malik Allen as an assistant coach on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Allen, who began his NBA playing career with the Heat, would fill the position that opened up when Juwan Howard left for Michigan.
  • I previewed the Heat’s offseason earlier today.

Southeast Notes: Allen, Hornets Workouts, Beal, Young

Malik Allen was the only member of Tom Thibodeau’s former staff who was retained by the Timberwolves after Ryan Saunders had the interim tag removed earlier this week. However, Allen may be on the move as well. He has emerged as a prime candidate to replace Juwan Howard on Erik Spoelstra’s staff, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Howard left the Heat to take the University of  Michigan head coaching job.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are bringing in six prospects for a workout on Saturday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. That group includes Ar’Mond Davis (UC Santa Barbara), Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson), Nathan Knight (William & Mary), Reggie Perry (Mississippi State), Josh Reaves (Penn State) and Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State). Weatherspoon, a shooting guard, heads that group as ESPN Jonathan Givony’s No. 57 overall prospect.
  • Bradley Beal didn’t become eligible for a supermax extension as he was left off the All-NBA teams. The Wizards shooting guard could still be on the move this summer, Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington writes. If Washington decides to rebuild, it could trade Beal for assets and salary cap space. In Standig’s view, the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks could be among the most likely destinations, particularly if they strike out in pursuit of high-level free agents.
  • Hawks point guard Trae Young believes his style of play will help bring in quality free agents, as he declared in an interview with 92.9 The Game (hat tip to E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News). “If you’re looking to have the ball in your hands, if you’re looking to score a lot of points – I mean, a lot of players in the league know if you come play with me, I’m going to make sure I get you the ball,” Young said. “I think that’s something that attracts a lot of big players.”

Timberwolves To Make Sweeping Staff Changes

The Timberwolves will be making extensive changes to their coaching staff, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reports.

Every assistant with an expiring contract — Ed Pinckney, Jerry Sichting, Larry Greer, John Lucas III and Dice Yoshimoto — will not return on Ryan Saunders’ staff as the organization distances itself from the Tom Thibodeau era. Saunders had the interim tag removed on Monday. The only assistant with a year left on his contract, Malik Allen, will be retained.

New president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas wants to split up duties more like a football staff. “We’re going to get the best offensive coordinator. We’re going to get the best defensive coordinator. We’re going to get the best player development coordinator,” Rosas said. “They’re going to execute our vision together. And Ryan will manage that program as a whole.”

We have more on the Timberwolves:

  • Adding players with a defensive mentality is a priority, Krawczynski adds in the same story. The team wants to utilize a more switch-heavy scheme to defend 3-point shooters. “I’ve got to help (Saunders),” Rosas said. “We’ve got to surround our team, our best players with personnel that will be complementary to them and we need more defenders.”
  • The team’s most notable players, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, attended Saunders’ press conference and gave him ringing endorsements. “I think this is a very positive change,” Wiggins told Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and other media members. “You can see the fresh air, you can see the faces and the positive energy in the air. Everyone is happy for Ryan — you don’t see negative faces, everyone is happy and we’re supportive.”
  • The decision to retain Saunders was a bow to Towns and his importance to the franchise’s long-term future, Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune writes. Towns respects and trusts Saunders and feels rejuvenated about the franchise’s direction, Scoggins notes. That’s crucial, because the Timberwolves can’t afford to alienate their best player to the point where an ugly divorce becomes inevitable, Scoggins adds.

Western Notes: Suns, McCollum, Jazz, Middleton

The Suns used a portion of their room exception to sign De’Anthony Melton to his first NBA contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Without using that exception, Phoenix would only have been able to offer Melton a first-year salary of $838K. Instead, the Suns were able to bump that figure to $949K. They still have $3.5MM of their room exception available.

Meanwhile, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders indicates (via Twitter) that while Devin Booker‘s new extension with the Suns is projected to start at 25% of the cap in 2019/20, there are triggers in the deal that could push that figure higher. Pincus isn’t sure of the specific details, but reports that Booker could get 27.5%, 28.5%, or 30% of the cap if he meets certain criteria. I’d guess that those criteria are related to whether he earns spots on the first, second, or third All-NBA teams.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • C.J. McCollum is often the subject of trade speculation, but the Trail Blazers guard tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic that he’d welcome a long-term stay in Portland. “I’m forever grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me and would love to be a Blazer for life,” McCollum said.
  • While it may be a little early to start speculating about 2019’s free agent period, Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune suggests (via Twitter) that Bucks wing Khris Middleton is a player the Jazz like a lot. With Ricky Rubio, Alec Burks, and others on expiring deals this season, Utah could have plenty of cap flexibility next summer.
  • As Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com details, Jahlil Okafor said there were a “multitude of reasons” for him to sign with the Pelicans, calling the decision a “no-brainer.” Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link) hears that New Orleans was comfortable with waiving Emeka Okafor in part due to how good Jahlil has looked. “He’s in amazing shape, and he’s going hard on both ends too,” Smith’s source said. “Seems like he really gets it now.”
  • The Timberwolves recently announced some additions and promotions on their coaching staff, including Pat Zipfel as an advance scout and Malik Allen and Larry Greer as assistant coaches (link via Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune).

Thibodeau Shoots Down Chemistry Concerns

Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau shot down reports regarding chemistry issues and Jimmy Butler‘s desire to leave after next season during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Butler was supposedly unhappy with his younger teammates and looking to pair up with Kyrie Irving when he can enter free agency next summer. Thibodeau said Butler has not voiced any displeasure about his teammates to him.

“I’ve been around a long time, I don’t buy into any of that stuff,” Thibodeau said. “You have to distinguish what’s real and what’s not real. You never heard any of that come from Jimmy’s mouth. It’s always a source close to Jimmy. If Jimmy has something to say to someone, he usually says it directly.”

Thibodeau also said he anticipated that Butler would turn down the team’s extension offer because he could make more in free agency but the franchise is still optimistic on re-signing him.

“We know the position we’re in. We have a lot to offer him. We think this is the best place for him and it’s up to us to show him the reasons why.”

Thibodeau also addressed a number of other topics:

  • He’s also “very optimistic” big man Karl-Anthony Towns will sign a contract extension by the October 15 deadline. “We know how important Karl is to the future of the organization,” Thibodeau said. As we noted in our Extension Candidate series, Towns is likely to sign a max extension.
  • Former Pistons assistant Malik Allen has been added to his coaching staff, replacing Rick Brunson. Allen joined the staff of ex-Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy in 2014. Brunson resigned in May amid allegations of misconduct.
  • Center Justin Patton should be cleared for contact by the start of training camp. The 7-foot Patton, the 16th overall pick in 2017, appeared in just one game last season after undergoing two foot surgeries.

And-Ones: Parsons, Heat, Southerland, Pistons

Chandler Parsons was an all-around contributor for the Rockets, averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists this past season, but that sort of production isn’t why the Mavs gave him a near-max offer sheet that Houston declined to match. They’re confident he can be a “far better” player than he was with the Rockets, as owner Mark Cuban said, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. While we wait to see whether Parsons proves worthy of Cuban’s investment, here’s more from around the league:

  • The Heat will likely sign a center for the reserve role that Greg Oden played last season, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Andray Blatche is available, but the Heat have shied away from him in the past because they’ve disliked his maturity level and behavior, according to Jackson, who seconds the notion that the Heat are unlikely to re-sign Oden following Oden’s arrest Thursday.
  • The contract that James Southerland signed Thursday with the Blazers is a one-year, non-guaranteed pact, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. That means it’s a summer contract, as I speculated. It also fits the stipulations required to make it an Exhibit 9 contract, though it’s not necessarily one.
  • Former NBA players Tim Hardaway Sr. and Malik Allen will serve as assistant coaches for the Pistons next season, the team announced. The Pistons also announced the hiring of former Knicks executive Jeff Nix as assistant general manager. He’ll serve alongside fellow assistant GM Brian Wright underneath president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy and GM Jeff Bower.