Matt Thomas

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Lowry, Raptors, Portis, Knicks

Sixers power forward Al Horford shot down an ESPN report that his new team was guilty of tampering prior to free agency. He addressed the issue on the Dan Patrick Show (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg). Horford declined his team option with the Celtics and signed a four-year, $109MM contract with Philadelphia. “It’s ridiculous. … (Celtics GM) Danny [Ainge] was really good to me. I know he’s definitely frustrated that things didn’t work out with us,” Horford said.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Heading into unrestricted free agency next summer, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry has hired Priority Sports — headed by longtime agent Mark Bartelstein — to represent him, according to a Priority Sports tweet. Lowry signed a three-year deal worth up to $100MM in 2017. His previous reps were Gerard Darnes Soms, Andrew Miller and Juan Aisa, according to Spotrac.
  • The Raptors used their $3.623MM bi-annual exception to sign forward Stanley Johnson, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. The $9.26MM mid-level was split up among Patrick McCaw, Matt Thomas, second-round pick Dewan Hernandez and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who received $2.5MM rather than the veteran’s minimum. McCaw signed a two-year, $8MM deal while Thomas and Hernandez received partially-guaranteed three-year contracts.
  • Power forward Bobby Portis believes the players the Knicks brought in are a hungry group ready to overachieve, as he told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. Portis joined the team on a two-year, $31MM deal, though only the first year is guaranteed. “I love being underrated, man. I’m an underdog,” he said. “I say that every day. We’re the team that’s being counted out right now. People are looking past us. They’re talking about stars going to new teams and this and that, and that’s okay. Everybody on this team has a huge chip on their shoulder.”
  • After striking out on the big free agents this summer, the Knicks will have to exercise patience and come up with a better plan to lure top talent, Steve Popper of Newsday opines.

Raptors Sign Matt Thomas To Three-Year Deal

JULY 19: The Raptors have officially signed Thomas, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. As we relayed in a separate post, his three-year, minimum-salary deal is said to include two fully guaranteed seasons.

JULY 1: EuroLeague guard Matt Thomas has agreed to a three-year contract with the Raptors, according to Varlas Nikos of Eurohoops.net (Twitter link). The total amount of the deal is $4.2MM, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

While the deal looks like it will be worth the minimum, the Raptors will use a slice of their mid-level exception to sign Thomas. Without the MLE, the team couldn’t have offered more than two years.

Thomas exercised an NBA opt-out clause in his contract with Valencia Basket of Spain’s Liga ACB in order to make the jump. The 6’5” Thomas, 24, played college ball at Iowa State.

He went undrafted in 2017 and played on the Lakers’ summer league team, then played in Spain for Monbus Obradoiro. He signed a two-year deal with Valencia last summer. He appeared in 29 games last season, averaging 11.4 PPG in 20.3 MPG. He was the team’s best 3-point shooter, knocking down 48.5% from long range, a skill which made him desirable to NBA teams.

Contract Details: Porter, Rozier, Spurs, Kings, Raptors

For the first time in several years, a first-round pick has accepted below the standard maximum of 120% of his rookie scale amount, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights. According to Siegel, No. 30 overall pick Kevin Porter Jr. will only earn 80% of his rookie scale amount during his first season before getting 120% of that amount in years two through four.

The rookie scale amount this year for the No. 30 pick is $1,613,700, so Porter’s expected salary for his rookie season would have been $1,936,440. Instead, he’ll get just $1,290,960, according to Siegel.

[RELATED: Rookie Scale Salaries For 2019 First-Round Picks]

While this is just my speculation, it seems likely that the Cavaliers would have checked in with Porter and his agent before drafting him to see if he’d be okay with that reduced first-year salary, given how rare it is. Porter, the final pick in the first round, will still earn significantly more than the rookie minimum of $898K that many early second-rounder selections will receive, while the Cavs, who are up against the luxury-tax line, will put themselves in better position to avoid potential repeater penalties.

Here are more contract details from around the NBA, all courtesy of Siegel unless otherwise indicated:

  • Terry Rozier‘s three-year, $56.7MM contract with the Hornets has a declining structure (Twitter link). It starts at $19.9MM in 2019/20 before eventually dipping to $17.9MM by 2021/22.
  • The base value of Rudy Gay‘s two-year deal with the Spurs is $28MM, with $2MM in annual bonuses to bring the potential total value up to $32MM (Twitter link). DeMarre Carroll‘s deal, meanwhile, only has a partial guarantee of $1.35MM in the third year (Twitter link). The Spurs tacked on that third season when they pivoted to acquiring Carroll via sign-and-trade rather than signing him outright.
  • Trevor Ariza‘s two-year, $25MM contract with the Kings only has a $1.8MM partial guarantee in year two (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Sacramento’s deal with Dewayne Dedmon has a base value of $40MM over three years, with $300K in annual incentives (Twitter link).
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic provides details on a pair of Raptors contracts, tweeting that Patrick McCaw‘s new two-year deal is worth $8MM, while Matt Thomas‘ three-year, minimum-salary contract is non-guaranteed in year three. Both of those deals will come out of Toronto’s mid-level exception — Stanley Johnson‘s might too, though if the team has plans in mind for the rest of the $4.36MM on its MLE, Johnson could be signed using the bi-annual exception instead, notes Murphy.

Central Notes: Cavs, Pacers, Pistons, Bucks

Since the Cavaliers fell to Golden State earlier this week in the NBA Finals, there has been a ton of speculation about how the Cavs should respond this summer, and the idea of acquiring Pacers forward Paul George in a trade involving Kevin Love has been a popular one.

There are no reports at this point suggesting that either team is considering such a deal, but Ben Golliver of SI.com makes the case that a Love/George would make a lot of sense for both the Cavaliers and Pacers. Golliver argues that Cleveland would get a badly-needed perimeter defender to combat Kevin Durant, while Indiana would land an impact player in his own right and could avoid embarking on a lengthy rebuilding process.

While Golliver’s piece is an interesting one, I’m less inclined to believe that the move would be in the Pacers’ best interests. The club isn’t yet at a point where it needs to trade George to avoid losing him for nothing. Even if and when that time comes, Indiana may prefer to move him for a package that includes picks and/or young players, rather than for a pricey veteran like Love.

Here’s more from around the Central division: