Marcin Gortat

Western Notes: Wolves, Hart, Suns, Melton

In his first offseason as the Timberwolves‘ president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas wasn’t in position to significantly reshape the roster.

While the Timberwolves reportedly made a run at D’Angelo Russell, their roster and cap limitations made it difficult to make a splash. However, that doesn’t mean the team’s front office won’t be looking for opportunities to shake things up during the 2019/20 season, writes Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune.

“We’re at a stage where we’re going to continue to be aggressive,” Rosas said of the Timberwolves. “We don’t have our championship team yet. When you’re at that stage, you want to do less because you want to have that continuity. We’re at the opposite end right now, where we’re establishing our core group and moving forward. A lot of teams aren’t like that. … But we can’t be waiting for the phone to ring. We have to make those calls to make sure that any opportunity that we can improve ourselves, we’re taking advantage of that.”

According to Rosas, there were a few potential opportunities for the Timberwolves to make a move leading up to Monday’s roster deadline, but nothing ultimately lined up and the team simply waived Tyrone Wallace to set its roster. Still, Rosas says that are looking “every day” for “opportunities to add.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Pelicans wing Josh Hart has signed with CAA Sports for representation on and off the court, according to Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal, who tweets that Hart will be repped by agents Leon Rose and Aaron Mintz. The 24-year-old will have his 2020/21 option picked up by New Orleans, which will make him eligible for a rookie scale extension next year.
  • As Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays, Marcin Gortat became the latest NBA veteran to take a shot at the Suns, calling the team “the worst organization” he has ever played for in a recent Polish interview. Earlier this month, Draymond Green criticized Phoenix for mishandling Marquese Chriss after drafting him eighth overall in 2016.
  • Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton, acquired from Phoenix in an offseason trade, initially wasn’t expecting to make his regular-season debut until sometime in November due to a back issue. However, he was cleared for the team’s opener and made a brief appearance on Wednesday in Miami. David Cobb of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the full story on Melton beating his recovery timeline and what the Grizzlies might expect from him in 2019/20.

Lakers To Work Out Noah, Speights, Howard

The Lakers plan to work out free agent centers Joakim Noah and Marreese Speights as well as the Grizzlies’ Dwight Howard this week in Los Angeles, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Another NBA free agent, Marcin Gortat, could also come in for a look, Wojnarowski adds. The Lakers want to evaluate the physical condition and mindset of each player as they seek to replace DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins suffered a torn ACL this month after he signed a one-year contract with the Lakers. Cousins could miss the entire season.

The Grizzlies had already granted the Lakers permission to meet with Howard. Memphis acquired him from the Wizards this offseason but he’s not part of their plans. The Grizzlies could make a trade or reach a buyout on his $5.6MM contract if the Lakers want him.

Noah averaged 7.1 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 41 games for Memphis last season after his woeful stint with the Knicks. He hasn’t drawn much attention on the free agent market, though he reportedly was being very selective about his next NBA destination.

Speights, who played in China last season, worked out in front of numerous NBA executives last month in Las Vegas.

Gortat was waived by the Clippers at the trade deadline last season and didn’t get picked up.

The Lakers currently have 14 players with guaranteed deals.

Atlantic Notes: Zion, Raptors, Loyd, Moreland, Sixers

The Knicks apparently won’t have to worry about Zion Williamson demanding a trade if they win the lottery. Williamson said on Friday that he would “love to play” for the Knicks if they drafted him, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. The Duke freshman made the remark during a Final Four press conference while accepting the Oscar Robertson (Player of the Year) Award. He went on to say he’d be happy to go wherever he was drafted.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors made a number of cost-cutting moves during the course of the season that saved an approximate $18MM, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic details. Waiving Lorenzo Brown, dumping the salaries of Malachi Richardson and Greg Monroe, trading three players for Marc Gasol, getting Gasol to waive his trade kicker, and signing players to 10-day contracts to meet roster requirements all contributed to a healthier bottom line.
  • The Raptors still have an open roster spot heading toward the playoffs and will likely sign a player, Murphy writes in the same story. Guard Jordan Loyd’s two-way contract could be converted to a standard contract and center Eric Moreland, who recently played on a 10-day contract, is another candidate. Veteran center Marcin Gortat could also be in play.
  • The 76ers believe their powerhouse starting lineup will be the difference in the playoffs, even though they haven’t played much together, Michael Lee of The Athletic reports. They’ve gone 8-2 in games that Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler have all been available to play. “Although that starting group hasn’t played that much basketball together, especially relative to the other teams, the excitement is to take the talent we have and quickly try to maximize that,” coach Brett Brown said.

Jodie Meeks’ 10-Day Contract Expires; Raptors Seeking Frontcourt Depth?

Jodie Meeks‘ 10-day contract with the Raptors has expired and the team is unlikely to renew it, tweets TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Toronto has two weeks to add a 14th player to its roster to meet the league minimum.

Meeks, 31, appeared in two games for the Raptors during his 10-day day, averaging 7.5 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 12 minutes per contest. After having not appeared in an NBA game since last season, the veteran shot a strong 37.5% from beyond the arc.

While Meeks had a solid showing, Toronto may seek frontcourt depth despite the acquisition of Marc Gasol, Lewenberg tweets. He mentions former Wizards center Marcin Gortat as a possible target, adding that there’s “mutual interest” between the two sides. In 47 games with the Clippers, Gortat averaged 5.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG.

To be playoff eligible, players had to be waived by their previous club ahead before March 1, so Gortat would qualify if he signs with a new team.

Bucks Consider Adding Marcin Gortat

The Bucks have talked about signing former Clippers center Marcin Gortat, but no move will be made right away, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Sources tell Stein that Milwaukee’s interest hasn’t progressed past the discussion stage.

L.A. waived Gortat at the trade deadline to open a roster spot so the team could complete a trade with the Grizzlies for JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple. Because he was released before today’s deadline, Gortat would be playoff eligible for anyone who picks him up.

The Clippers acquired Gortat in a trade last summer, hoping he would help make up for the loss of free agent center DeAndre Jordan. However, Gortat got off to a slow start and wound up averaging just 16 minutes per night in a crowded frontcourt.

The Bucks have a full roster with 15 players, so a move would have to be made before they could add Gortat. The most likely odd man out would be Isaiah Canaan, who is on a 10-day contract.

Warriors Notes: Cousins, Durant, Cook, Roster Spot

For the first time since returning from an Achilles injury, Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins will be playing without a minutes restriction, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Cousins is averaging 23.4 minutes per night in 11 games and has rarely played more than 25 minutes. Coach Steve Kerr said game flow will determine how long Cousins is actually on the court, but there are no more medical restrictions.

“We’ll see how the games go,” Kerr said after today’s practice. “I don’t think we’ll change the plan too much in terms of how we’re going to play him in the rotations and all that, but I think once we get back into the rhythm we can absolutely play him for longer stretches, play him down the stretch if we like.”

He added that the plan was always to ease Cousins back into action for a month or so before unleashing him for full-time duty. The upcoming free agent has posted 13.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG in his limited playing time.

“He did a great job, DeMarcus did,” Kerr said. “So now we’re entering a different phase of the season. We’ll see how it goes, but nothing’s set in stone.”

There’s more Warriors news tonight:

  • Golden State officials are as uncertain as anyone about Kevin Durant‘s plans for free agency, writes Frank Isola of The Athletic“We have no idea what he’s going to do,” a team source said. “Everyone wants him to stay. There’s not much more we can sell him on. If he leaves, we’ll think of it as being lucky to have him for three great years.”
  • No matter where Durant winds up, teammate Quinn Cook could be with him, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Cook and Durant have been friends since their AAU days and may be a package deal in free agency. “Any time you get to play with one of your best friends at the highest level is obviously a great thing,’’ Cook said. “He helps me so much off the floor and even more on the floor. He gets me so many open shots. We have a great connection out there. We know each other. We’ve been playing together the past 10-plus years.”
  • Two-way player Damion Lee appears to be the favorite to fill the 15th roster spot before the playoffs, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The Warriors haven’t given up on Bulls center Robin Lopez, but he won’t be playoff eligible if he’s not bought out before March 1. Another center, such as ex-Clipper Marcin Gortat, is possible, but Slater states that Damian Jones could recover from a pectoral tear by May, which would provide backup help in the middle.

Clippers Acquire Temple, Green For Bradley

6:41pm: The trade between the Grizzlies and Clippers is official, both teams announced in press releases. The Clippers also confirmed the waiving of Marcin Gortat.

“We will miss the toughness Marcin brought to this group,” team president Lawrence Frank said. “He was a tenacious defender and screen-setter, and we are grateful to have been part of his long and distinguished career.”

1:07pm: The Grizzlies have reached an agreement to trade swingman Garrett Temple and power forward JaMychal Green to the Clippers for shooting guard Avery Bradley, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The trade allows the Clippers to clear a little more cap space in their pursuit of top free agents this summer. Temple has an expiring $8MM contract, while Green is making $7.7MM in his walk year. The Clippers will open up $2MM more in cap room this offseason, giving them a projected $59MM to chase the best players in the free agent class, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links).

Bradley is making $12MM this season and $12.96MM next season, but only $2MM of next season’s salary is guaranteed. Memphis has until July 3rd to fully guarantee his salary, something a rebuilding club is unlikely to do.

The Grizzlies will create a $7.6MM trade exception as well as open up a roster spot as they finalize a deal sending center Marc Gasol to the Raptors. Green will receive a $200K bonus if the Clippers reach the first round of the playoffs, Marks adds.

With the Clippers having a full roster prior to the trade agreement, they will open up a spot to complete the 2-for-1 deal by waiving center Marcin Gortat, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Los Angeles will thus eat the remainder of his $13.565MM contract this season. Gortat was due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Bradley, who has started all 49 games in which he’s played this season, is averaging 8.2 PPG. Gortat started 43 of 47 games, averaging 5.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG. Green was the Grizzlies’ fourth-leading scorer despite coming off the bench in all but four of 41 games, averaging 9.8 PPG and 6.1 RPG. Temple, acquired from the Kings during the offseason, started 49 games and averaging 9.4 PPG.

Buyout Market: Ellington, Kaminsky, Gortat, Smith

The Pistons will be an aggressive suitor for Wayne Ellington once he reaches the buyout market, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Suns are expected to reach a buyout and waive the shooting guard, whom they just acquired from the Heat. The Thunder are also reportedly interested in Elllington. Detroit is seeking a veteran addition at shooting guard after trading starter and impending free agent Reggie Bullock to the Lakers.
We have plenty more buyout market developments:
  • The Hornets will look to reach a buyout with big man Frank Kaminsky after failing to trade him, Sean Deveney of Sports Illustrated tweets. The little-used Kaminsky is making $3.62MM this season.
  • Veteran center Marcin Gortat is interested in joining the Warriors but Golden State will take a wait-and-see approach regarding the waiver wire and buyout market, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Gortat, a starter most of the season, is expected to be waived by the Clippers.
  • The Cavaliers have no plans to discuss a buyout with J.R. Smith and failing to find a trade partner for the shooting guard, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Smith is making $14.72MM this season but his $15,68MM salary for next season is not guaranteed unless he remains on the roster through June 30th.
  • The Raptors’ flurry of activity, including an agreed-upon trade with the Grizzlies for center Marc Gasol, will make them an active participant in the buyout market, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Toronto will be down to just 10 players on the active roster, plus two two-way players. That means there will be playing time available for free agents that will soon clear waivers.
  • The Celtics do not have an immediate target to fill their open roster spot, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald tweets. Enes Kanter, expected to be bought out by the Knicks as early as today, isn’t believed to be on their radar screen, a source tells Murphy.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

And-Ones: Georges-Hunt, Robinson, Gortat, Gordon

The first domino of the NBA offseason fell tonight with the Clippers sending Austin Rivers to the Wizards for Marcin Gortat. As we wait to see what other moves the offseason brings, let’s take a look at some news and notes from around the league:

  • The Wolves will not tender Marcus Georges-Hunt a qualifying offer, Michael Scotto of The Atlantic tweets. Georges-Hunt, who played in 42 games for Minnesota last season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Glenn Robinson, who will hit the unrestricted free agent market, has changed representatives, leaving CAA and signing with a group of independent agents. He’ll be represented by the team of Jelani Floyd, Daniel Poneman, Mike Naiditch, and E.J. Kusnyer, according to Kevin O’ Connor of the Ringer (Twitter link).
  • NBA.com’s David Aldridge isn’t surprised that the Wizards dealt Gortat, tweeting that Gortat and Wall were “oil and water.” The scribe adds that Washington is now in need of a big man and he speculates that Nerlens Noel could be a fit in D.C.
  • The Kings like Aaron Gordon, but view him as a power forward, the same position as Marvin Bagley, their top selection in this year’s draft, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Ham adds that it’s unlikely Sacramento chases the 22-year-old.