Marreese Speights

Talks Between Hawks, Marreese Speights End

The Hawks had been in discussion with sharp-shooting center Marreese Speights for a week but those talks have ended, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The veteran is thus back in play on the open market.

Earlier this week we wrote about how the Clippers had hoped to retain both Luc Mbah a Moute and Speights. Unfortunately for them, however, Mbah a Moute has already committed to the Rockets leaving only the 29-year-old Speights available as a returning option for the transitioning franchise.

In 82 games for the Clippers last season, Speights averaged 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. His ability to spread the floor from the five position could serve any number of contenders well provided they’re able to land him at a reasonable price. From 2013 to 2016, of course, Speights was a valuable addition to the Warriors’ rotation.

Speights hit the market this summer having opted out of a minimum salary player option with the Clippers. Even if the nine-year vet only inks a veteran’s minimum deal worth $2.1MM in 2017/18, however, he’ll match the value of that player option.

Clippers Remain Engaged On Several Free Agents

The Clippers have had a busy offseason thus far and the team remains active with at least two players from last season’s roster. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter) first noted that Los Angeles has been engaged with Luc Mbah a Moute and Los Angeles Times scribe Brad Turner (via Twitter) added that in addition to Mbah a Moute, the Clippers are interested in retaining Marreese Speights.

While there is interest, Wojnarowski noted that the Clippers’ financial constraints would make a deal difficult and Turner added that no deal is close.

Mbah a Moute, 30, played in 80 games (76 starts) last season while averaging 6.1 PPG and 2.1 RPG. As for Speights, the 29-year-old appeared in all 82 games for Los Angeles and the NBA champion provided his usual solid production with 8.7 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

After losing Chris Paul to the Rockets, the Clippers spent significant money on sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari (three years, $63MM), international superstar Milos Teodosic (two years, $12.3MM), and re-signing Blake Griffin (five years, $173MM). While the team restocked its roster in the sign-and-trade sending Paul to Houston, Speights and Mbah a Moute were two key pieces of last year’s team on both sides of the floor.

Los Angeles has no cap space left as the team used its bi-annual exception last year and used up most of their mid-level exception on Teodosic and Jawun Evans. With approximately $1.5MM left on their MLE, the Clippers’ best chance of retaining Mbah a Moute/Speights would be on deals worth the veteran’s minimum.

Marreese Speights Opts Out

Marreese Speights has opted out of his 2017/18 contract with the Clippers, according to a tweet from his representatives, ASM Sports.

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.

 

Pacific Notes: Griffin, West, Clarkson

The Clippers confirmed Blake Griffin‘s knee surgery in a press release posted this afternoon on the team’s website. The operation to remove loose bodies from his right knee will be performed Tuesday, and he is expected to be out of action three to six weeks. Griffin is averaging 21.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists through 26 games.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • L.A. is in better shape to withstand Griffin’s absence than it was a year ago, contends Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. When Griffin was sidelined with a broken hand and a quad injury after Christmas of 2015, Paul Pierce took his place in the starting lineup and DeAndre Jordan assumed a larger role in the offense, averaging 14.1 points and 14.3 rebounds in the games without Griffin. The Clippers signed free agents Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights during the offseason, either of whom could start at power forward. Also, Pierce is still around, Luc Mbah a Moute can guard bigger forwards and Austin Rivers could be moved into the starting lineup.
  • The operation may impact Griffin’s future earnings, suggests ESPN’s Kevin Pelton. Under the tentative CBA, Griffin needs to make an all-NBA team at the end of the season to qualify for the newly created designated veteran player exception. An absence of three to six weeks will certainly reduce his chances. Players who qualify can earn up to 35% of the cap if they remain with their current team. Griffin would be limited to 30% if he doesn’t qualify, which translates to about $30MM over a five-year contract.
  • The Warriors’ David West will be out for a while with a hip pointer, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. The veteran forward underwent an MRI on Friday after suffering the injury in a game last week. Golden State had been concerned that the injury was something more serious.
  • Jordan Clarkson didn’t complain about moving to the bench after signing a four-year, $50MM contract with the Lakers, but he hasn’t thrived in his new role, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Clarkson, whose starting job was taken by Nick Young, has shot just 39.8% over his last 10 games. “Coach wants me to be aggressive,” Clarkson said. “That’s what I try to do every night when I’m out there on the floor. But at the same time, I have to figure out what’s a good shot and a bad shot.”

Western Notes: Gentry, Speights, Bender

The Pelicans are off to a 7-16 start to the campaign, but coach Alvin Gentry isn’t concerned about his job status, Justin Verrier of ESPN.com relays. “I really don’t give a [expletive] about my job status,” Gentry said. “I’m gonna work hard, and I’m gonna coach until the day they tell me I’m not the coach here anymore. It doesn’t matter. I don’t ever worry about that. That isn’t anything that I spend five seconds worrying about. My worry is how do I get the guys in the locker room to play at the level that I want them to. That’s where all my effort goes. It doesn’t go anywhere else.”

When asked if he ever imagined things would get this rough in New Orleans, Gentry said, “No, I didn’t expect this, no. But we have who we have. And the bottom line is, I don’t care who we have in the locker room. All I expect is them to do is compete and play hard, which they’ve done most of the night, and then we’ve got to try to find a way to execute. And then we’ve got to make some shots. We’ve got to knock down some shots. That’s the bottom line.

Here’s the latest from out West:

  • Clippers forward Marreese Speights was down on the franchise’s perceived culture after the team’s recent drubbing by the Warriors, Dan Woike of The Orange County Register relays. “That’s the scouting report when you play against the Clippers,” Speights said. “It’s always been, especially with the Warriors, you play against the Clippers, you hit them a couple of times, and their spirit is going to be down. That’s what happened, so we’ve just got to find a way to get over that hump.
  • Suns big man Dragan Bender is learning on the job during his first season in the league, a process he discussed with Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. “I’m just growing each and every day, trying to learn,” Bender said. “I know this is my first year and I’m 19 years old and I know it’s going to be tough for me. I’m just going to come each and every day and compete. I’ll try to go against anybody on the court. It doesn’t matter who it is in front of me. I just try to help win the games. My job is to play defense and hit the open shots and deliver the ball at the right time.

Western Notes: Speights, Paul, Gasol, Grizzlies

Reserve Clippers center and former Warriors backup Marreese Speights believes his current team needs to learn some lessons from its blowout loss to Golden State on Wednesday, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. Speights ripped the Clippers for whining about calls and implored them to play more unselfishly, Oram continues. Speights explained that the Warriors coaching staff felt the Clippers would fold if “you hit them a couple times” and they lived up to that reputation, Oram adds. “First we need to start really just leaving the refs alone,” Speights told Oram and other media members. “Guys just got to sacrifice, do some other things than scoring, do some other things than your personal goals. Just try something new. They’ve been doing it here for four or five years and it hasn’t been working, so it’s time to try something new.”

In other news around the Western Conference:
  • Clippers guard Chris Paul believes it’s feasible that he will team up with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at some point, he revealed in a radio interview that was relayed by SI.com. In an Open Run podcast, said “anything’s possible” and added that they work out together at times during the offseason. Paul can opt out of his contract after this season, while James and Anthony can opt out of the final year of their contracts after the 2017/18 season.
  • Pau Gasol nearly signed with the Spurs in 2014 before choosing the Bulls, according to Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express Nets. Gasol felt Chicago “underperformed” in his two seasons there before he opted out of the final year of his contract and chose the Spurs this summer. He was also heavy recruited by ex-Bulls coach and current Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations, Tom Thibodeau, McDonald continues. Gasol turned down bigger money — two years and $36MM — to sign with San Antonio for two years and $31.6MM, McDonald adds. “I think a player like that, he’s looking for an opportunity to be part of a championship team,” Thibodeau told McDonald.
  • Rookies point guards Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin are doing a respectable job replacing injured Mike Conley for the Grizzlies, Ronald Tillery of the Memphis  Commercial Appeal writes. Their decision-making can be frustrating to the coaching staff at times and Harrison’s outside shot has been inconsistent but overall, coach David Fitzdale is pleased with the way they’ve performed, Tillery adds. “I’ve got to live with what these younger guys are doing on the court whether it’s good or bad,” Fizdale told Tillery. “In the long run, it’s going to help us. At the end of the year, they won’t be as young anymore.”

Pacific Notes: Price, Warren, Speights, Lakers

The Suns have offered veteran guard Ronnie Price an assistant coaching position, tweets Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. Price was waived Monday by the Thunder even though he had a fully guaranteed two-year, $5MM contract. The 33-year-old played 62 games for Phoenix last season, starting 18 times. Suns coach Earl Watson confirmed the offer, but said Price isn’t ready to end his playing career.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • After two injury-filled half seasons, Suns small forward T.J. Warren is off to a strong start to 2016/17, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Warren scored 30 points Friday night in an overtime loss to the Thunder, going 8 for 8 on a variety of mid-range shots. “He gets buckets; ‘Tony Buckets’ is his name,” said teammate Eric Bledsoe. “He played not only great offense, but great defense too. He carried us.” The Suns exercised their 2017/18 option on Warren on Monday.
  • The Clippers are counting on big man Marreese Speights to boost their bench scoring and maybe even change the balance of power in the West, relays Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. The former Warrior signed a two-year, minimum-salary deal with L.A. over the summer. “(He’s) just another scorer,” said coach/executive Doc Rivers. “I don’t think anyone has a guy like that on their bench, for that matter. Golden State had one last year, and now he’s on our team. But there’s not a lot of fives that can do what Mo does as far as offensively shoot the three. There are some, but Mo also has a post game as well.” Speights has a player option on the second year of his new deal, so he could be in line for a raise if he has a productive season.
  • The Lakers hope to be more appealing to free agents by the time California natives Russell Westbrook and Paul George become available in two years, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Over the summer, L.A. was turned down for meetings by Kevin Durant, Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside.

Western Notes: Barnes, Bogut, Clippers

Harrison Barnes is competing in his first Olympics, but he had plenty of offseason excitement before the Summer Games started, writes Joe Rexrode of The Des Moines Register. After being a key part of a Warriors team that set a league record with 73 wins in a season, Barnes found himself cut free when Golden State needed his cap room to sign Kevin Durant. Barnes wound up inking a four-year $94MM deal with the Mavericks, who plan to make him one of the focal points of their offense. “I think Harrison wants an opportunity to go to a team and be the guy,” said fellow Team USA member and former Warriors teammate Draymond Green, “and he has that opportunity, which I’m not mad at him about. He already has a championship, and that’s what he’ll be remembered as. He’s a champion, and no one can ever take that away.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Mavericks didn’t try to stop newly acquired center Andrew Bogut from playing in the Olympics, according to Kareem Copeland of The Associated Press. Bogut, who came to Dallas in a trade last month, is still recovering from a hyperextended knee he suffered in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. At age 31, Bogut believes this is his last shot at the Olympics and he feared the Mavericks might ask him to sit out and rest the knee, but he said the team approved as long as he was healthy. “I was like, I don’t want it to end that way where I’m just sitting at home with ice on my knee if I can give it a crack,” Bogut said after leading Australia past France today. “I didn’t want it taken away that easily. I said I’ll give it a crack up until this day. If it wasn’t right yesterday, I’d put my hand up and I’m on a flight back home.”
  • The Clippers became hard-capped over the summer, but were able to rebuild their bench by adding several veterans on team-friendly contracts, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. In his offseason review, Marks notes that Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, Alan Anderson and Brandon Bass all signed with L.A. for the minimum, allowing the Clippers to add depth at an affordable price. The team is currently $1.4MM above the luxury tax with 15 guaranteed contracts and will face a repeater tax if doesn’t drop below the threshold by the season’s end.

Contract Details: Conley, Jefferson, Speights

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has updated many of the team-by-team salary pages at Basketball Insiders with new information, and while it’s worth checking out the full breakdown for your favorite team, we have a few noteworthy items from the latest series of updates to pass along. Let’s dive in…

  • Mike Conley‘s five-year max deal with the Grizzlies includes an early termination option for the fifth year, which essentially functions like a player option. If Conley choose to waive that ETO and opts into the final year of his contract, his $34.5MM salary would be guaranteed for $22.427MM. However, if Conley plays in at least 55 games in either 2018/19 or 2019/20, that salary becomes fully guaranteed.
  • The third year of Al Jefferson‘s three-year contract with the Pacers is only partially guaranteed. The team currently owes him $4MM for the 2018/19 season, but if he stays on the roster, he’d earn his full $10MM salary.
  • Marreese Speightsminimum-salary deal with the Clippers is for two years, not just one. However, Speights has a player option on that second year, so he’ll likely opt out if he has a good year in Los Angeles.
  • Deron Williamsone-year contract with the Mavericks is actually worth $9MM rather than $10MM on the cap, though he has $1MM in unlikely incentives.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith, Jonathan Gibson, and Nicolas Brussino all got nearly-identical three-year, minimum-salary deals from the Mavericks. Gibson is the only one whose first year is fully guaranteed though — Finney-Smith and Brussino will start with just $100K guaranteed apiece.
  • When Paul Zipser‘s agent announced his rookie contract with the Bulls, he said it featured two guaranteed years. There’s also a third year on that pact worth the minimum salary that’s not fully guaranteed.

Clippers Sign Marreese Speights To One-Year Deal

JULY 12: The Clippers have formally announced their deal with Speights and officially introduced him as a Clipper (Twitter link).

JULY 8: Veteran big man Marreese Speights will be moving from Western Conference contender to another, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports that Speights has reached an agreement to sign with the Clippers. It’s a one-year deal, per Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).Marreese Speights vertical

Speights, who turns 29 in August, spent the last three seasons with the Warriors, appearing in a total of 227 regular-season games – and another 41 playoff contests – for Golden State. Although Speights didn’t average more than 16 minutes per game in any of his three years with the Dubs, his production in limited action was very solid. In 11.6 minutes per game in 2015/16, the veteran big man averaged 7.1 PPG and 3.3 RPG, and even shot 38.7% from three-point range.

[RELATED: Clippers’ free agent signings via our Free Agent Tracker]

Having stayed over the cap to re-sign some of their own free agents, the Clippers are also using their mid-level exception on Wesley Johnson, which doesn’t leave the team with much spending flexibility. As such, it’s no surprise that Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Speights is signing with the Clippers for the veteran’s minimum. For a player with Speights’ experience, that will work out to a $1,403,611 salary for the 2016/17 season.

The Warriors, of course, would also have been able to offer Speights a minimum-salary deal, though it’s not entirely clear whether such an offer was on the table. If the former Florida Gator chose the Clippers over the Warriors, he’s likely seeking a bigger role — in Los Angeles, there’s an opening in the frontcourt rotation following Cole Aldrich‘s departure.

[RELATED: Clippers’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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