- Power forward Ivan Rabb and the Grizzlies have mutually agreed to push back his contract guarantee deadline to mid-October, Michael Wallace of the team’s website tweets. Rabb appeared in 49 games with Memphis last season, including 13 starts, averaging 5.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG. The 2017 second-round pick’s $1,618,520 salary for next season was due to be guaranteed today. He has a partial guarantee of $371,758.
- The aftermath of the Grizzlies’ busy offseason shows the vision of the front office, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Memphis has a younger core to build around and has acquired future assets to accelerate the process.
The Rockets and Clippers continue to be the two teams most seriously pursuing Grizzlies swingman Andre Iguodala, Shams Charania of Stadium reports (video link). However both Houston and Los Angeles “seem to be at a standstill” in talks with Memphis, per Charania.
According to Charania, the Rockets aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of going deep into luxury-tax territory for Iguodala. While Charania doesn’t specify what exactly Houston’s package would look like, he refers to “a potential sign-and-trade” — that would likely involve Iman Shumpert attached to a draft pick, as I wrote last Friday.
Currently, Houston’s team salary is below the tax line, but taking on Iguodala’s $17MM+ salary without sending out any guaranteed money could bump the Rockets’ projected tax bill up to about $20MM, says Charania.
As for the Clippers, Maurice Harkless‘ expiring contract is the most logical salary-matching trade chip for L.A. in any deal involving Iguodala. However, Charania hears that the Clips don’t want to part with Harkless in an Iguodala trade.
Both the Rockets and Clippers have explored three- or four-team scenarios that might work for Iguodala, per Charania, but that’s probably a long shot. Meanwhile, the Mavericks and Nuggets have also engaged with the Grizzlies on Iguodala, but neither team has really gained any real traction in trade discussions.
Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) previously suggested there’s a belief in league circles that the Grizzlies may be leaning toward keeping Iggy on their roster into the season unless they receive a trade offer that includes a first-round pick. We’ll see if that ends up being the case if no potential suitors meet their asking price.
The Cavaliers aren’t making an effort to deal Kevin Love, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. On the surface, Love appears to be a prime trade candidate. He’s nearly 31 on a rebuilding team, is coming off toe surgery that limited him to 22 games last season and has a four-year, $120MM extension that’s about to kick in.
However, Cleveland doesn’t view Love’s contract as burdensome. A five-time All-Star, he’s easily the team’s best player if he can stay healthy and provides a positive role model for a young roster. New coach John Beilein wants to keep Love around because he’ll take pressure off his teammates to develop quickly.
Cavs management will listen to offers for Love, but it would take a formidable deal to move him anytime soon. Fedor sees the Heat as a possibility because they are searching for a second star to team with Jimmy Butler and have both young players such as Tyler Herro, Meyers Leonard, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow who would interest Cleveland, plus big contracts in James Johnson, Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters to help match Love’s $28.9MM salary. Fedor expects the front office to hold onto Love for a while and reassess its options closer to the trade deadline.
There’s more out of Cleveland, all courtesy of Fedor:
- Tomorrow is the new guarantee date for J.R. Smith, but it can be pushed back to August 1 if the Cavs can’t work out a trade. The original date had been June 30, but Smith agreed to an extension last month in exchange for an increase in guaranteed money from $3.9MM to $4.37MM. Smith’s trade value can be counted at the full $15.68MM because he signed his contract before that rule was changed, but Cleveland hasn’t been able to find any takers for the 33-year-old guard. Management has been surprised by the lack of interest in Smith, Fedor adds, believing its offers in salary-dump situations were better than the ones that were accepted. The Cavs have also been “shocked” by some of the bad contracts teams are trying to get them to take.
- The Cavaliers tried to obtain Andre Iguodala from the Warriors, and sources tell Fedor they asked for less than the future first-rounder and cash that Memphis received for taking on Iguodala’s $17.1MM contract. However, Golden State wanted to create a large trade exception and saw that as more valuable than the cap relief Smith would have provided. Cleveland was also involved in talks to facilitate the Butler trade by taking Maurice Harkless from the Trail Blazers, but he wound up with the Clippers, who received a 2023 first-rounder from Miami.
- Former Duke big man Marques Bolden is receiving strong consideration for a two-way contract. The Cavaliers believe he never got a full chance to display his talents in college and can develop into an effective NBA center. “In college you don’t have space,” said Summer League head coach Antonio Lang. “Here you have space and he can create space if he continues to roll hard. Everything you look for in a big he has, he just has to be more efficient with his footwork and learn the game more. That comes with practice and time. He’s more suited for the NBA game.”
Veteran forward Omri Casspi has reached an agreement with Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. In addition to a three-year, $3.4MM contract, Casspi will be given a managing role in the organization when he retires.
Casspi, 31, likely saw his NBA career end when the Grizzlies released him in February to make room on the roster for a series of trades. He appeared in 36 games for Memphis, averaging 6.3 PPG in about 14 minutes per night.
Casspi was a first-round pick in the 2009 draft, going to the Kings with the 23rd selection. He spent time with seven teams during a 10-year NBA career.
Joakim Noah has an opportunity to play for the New Zealand Breakers next season, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. The team is owned by Matt Walsh, Noah’s former teammate at Florida, who has been in charge of the recruiting effort.
The Breakers are pitching Noah on an arrangement similar to what Andrew Bogut had in Australia that enabled him to return to the NBA after his overseas commitment was complete (Twitter link). Bogut earned MVP honors with the Sydney Kings, then joined the Warriors for 11 regular season games and the playoffs.
However, Stein notes that Noah has received interest from a few NBA teams after a surprisingly strong performance once he joined the Grizzlies in December (Twitter link).
Noah averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 41 games for Memphis, helping to erase memories of two nightmarish seasons with the Knicks. At age 34, he is being very “selective” about where he winds up next, Stein adds.
Point guard Tyus Jones became the first – and likely only – restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet this offseason when he inked a three-year deal with the Grizzlies last weekend. However, entering the summer, Jones hadn’t been planning to move on to a new team after spending the first four years of his NBA career with the Timberwolves, as he tells Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
“I think it’s just natural to look at it and see all the stars were aligning and assume that I’ve been here for four years and carved out a nice role in this team and you just kind of assume we’re going to figure it out here,” Jones said. “You don’t go into it thinking you’re going to be moving on to another team. Things happen. It’s a business and it’s always going to be a business. I’m just thankful and glad to have a team that’s so excited about me joining their family.”
According to Krawczynski, the Timberwolves did make an offer to Jones during the first week of free agency, but it was a four-year deal that started at just $4.2MM, with the final year non-guaranteed. Jones balked at that offer, and there was some “disenchantment” within his camp, says Krawczynski.
After what he called “the longest week or 10 days of my life,” Jones received an offer from the Grizzlies that was more in the ballpark of what the former first-round pick was seeking. The three-year deal will be worth about $8-9MM annually.
Here’s more on the Timberwolves:
- Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor was a fan of Jones, and some people that expected Taylor to lobby to keep him, but sources tell Krawczynski that the team owner was ultimately on board with Minnesota’s decision not to match his offer sheet.
- In a breakdown of the Timberwolves’ point guard outlook, Krawczynski reports that the Timberwolves didn’t plan on making a push for Russell Westbrook while Oklahoma City was shopping him. The same thinking applies to Chris Paul, since the Wolves are looking to surround Karl-Anthony Towns with core players who are closer to his age, per Krawczynski.
- New Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said this week that he’s excited to be able to take low-cost “bets” on players like Noah Vonleh and Tyrone Wallace, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune relays. Rosas also explained why the team pursued – and acquired – restricted free agent Jake Layman: “We really like his versatility, his feel, his IQ, ability to play on the ball, off the ball. To play a couple of positions offensively, defensively. We see a lot of upside with him. He’s got a tough identity that translates on both ends.”
- I took a closer look earlier today at the salary cap machinations surrounding the Wolves’ sign-and-trade for Layman.
1:53pm: In addition to the Rockets, Clippers, and Mavericks, the Nuggets and Lakers also have interest in Iguodala, tweets Stein.
Stein first mentioned Denver’s interest in Iguodala in his newsletter last week, though Amick tweets that the Nuggets view Memphis’ asking price as too high. If they do make a play for Iggy, Mason Plumlee‘s expiring $14MM contract would be their best salary-matching piece.
As for the Lakers, they have no clear path to matching Iguodala’s salary until after December 15, so they’re an unlikely suitor unless he’s bought out.
According to Amick, Houston continues to push to acquire Iguodala from the Grizzlies via trade. The Clippers are also known to be among the most serious suitors for the former Warrior, Amick adds.
In order to match Iguodala’s $17,185,185 salary, the Rockets or Clippers would have to send out at least $12,185,185 in salary of their own, which will be difficult, but not impossible.
Los Angeles could use Maurice Harkless‘ $11,511,234 expiring contract, but would have to include at least one more piece — likely either Jerome Robinson or one of their 2019 draftees. Those two 2019 draft picks (Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann) can’t be dealt until at least August 9 after signing on Tuesday.
The Rockets, meanwhile, probably wouldn’t want to move Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, or Eric Gordon for Iguodala, so a sign-and-trade involving Iman Shumpert could be their most viable path for matching salaries. Shumpert would have to sign a three-year contract in that scenario, but only the first year would need to be fully guaranteed. He could sign for exactly $12,185,185, and presumably he’d be open to the idea, since he won’t receive that kind of money from any other team as a free agent.
Although Amick doesn’t name any other suitors for Iguodala, Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com suggests that the Mavericks are interested in the former Finals MVP too, and are willing to offer Courtney Lee‘s expiring contract and a second-round pick. Lee has a $12,759,670 cap hit, so no additional players would need to be added to such an offer for matching purposes. However, the Grizzlies don’t appear to have interest in taking on Lee, according to Fisher.
The Grizzlies acquired Iguodala as a salary dump, receiving a future first-round pick and cash from the Warriors for their troubles, so if they’re able to flip him and acquire positive assets, they’ll be coming out ahead.
Still, Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link) says there’s a belief in league circles that Memphis may be leaning toward keeping Iggy on their roster into the season unless they receive a trade offer that includes a first-round pick.
The 2019 NBA offseason has been perhaps the craziest in league history. Since the 2018/19 All-NBA teams were announced in May, six of the 15 stars from that group (Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Kemba Walker) have changed teams.
Current and former All-Stars like Anthony Davis, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, D’Angelo Russell, and Al Horford also have new homes. So do impact players such as Mike Conley, Danilo Gallinari, and Malcolm Brogdon.
[RELATED: 2019 NBA Free Agent Tracker]
As NBA teams revamp their rosters, many of them have gotten particularly creative in how they’ve acquired players within the rules of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Cap space has been maximized. Trade exceptions have been created, used, and re-used. And sign-and-trades have made a comeback in a major way, with 10 players having been dealt via sign-and-trade this offseason (a total of four players were signed-and-traded during the previous four offseasons).
[RELATED: 2019 NBA Offseason Trades]
We’re still stepping back and taking stock of all of this summer’s salary-cap machinations, but there are a few maneuvers in particular that have stood out to me, which I think are worth highlighting.
These aren’t necessarily the cleverest cap maneuvers of the offseason, and these five teams certainly aren’t the only ones that have employed creative tactics to acquire players. However, the moves listed below are five of my favorites of the offseason so far.
Let’s dive in…
1. The Nets create space to sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan without using the room exception.
When the free agent period began, the Nets didn’t have quite enough cap room to accommodate maximum salaries for Durant ($38.2MM) and Irving ($32.74MM). Another move appeared to be required to carve out that space.
However, not only did the Nets avoid making that extra move, but they also found enough cap room to sign Jordan to a four-year, $40MM deal.
Cap expert Albert Nahmad first broke down the Nets’ sequence of events last week, explaining that by retaining their rights to D’Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier, and Treveon Graham, the Nets were able to sign Irving to a near-max contract and give Jordan a starting salary close to $10MM before going over the cap to acquire Durant in a sign-and-trade.
Irving signed a contract that featured a starting salary just $1MM below his max, though he can make up the difference in unlikely incentives. Once the Nets signed Jordan and second-rounder Nicolas Claxton, the team used nearly every dollar of its leftover room to sign Russell to his new four-year contract.
Because Russell’s deal was signed using cap space, base year compensation rules for salary matching didn’t apply, meaning the Nets had the ability to use D-Lo’s full $27,285,000 first-year salary for matching purposes. However, Brooklyn needed to send out $30,479,200 in order to satisfy the matching rules and take in Durant’s new $38,199,000 salary.
In order to bridge that gap, the Nets included Napier and Graham in the deal. Both players had non-guaranteed contracts, which don’t count toward a team’s outgoing salary total for matching purposes, so Brooklyn gave each player a partial guarantee worth $1,597,100. Combined with Russell’s cap hit, those partial guarantees pushed the Nets’ outgoing salary total right to the required $30,479,200, essentially allowing them to “sign” Durant to a full max deal without having nearly enough space for it.
Throw in the fact that the Nets managed to get the Warriors’ 2020 first-round pick (top-20 protected) in the Durant sign-and-trade, and it turned out to be a very nice piece of business for GM Sean Marks and Brooklyn’s front office.
JULY 11: Jones’ contract with the Grizzlies is now official, per a press release from the team.
JULY 9: The Timberwolves have opted not to match Tyus Jones‘ three-year offer sheet with the Grizzlies, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The decision, which was due by midnight eastern time, will pave the way for the restricted free agent to finalize his deal with Memphis and become the newest member of the Grizzlies’ backcourt.
Gersson Rosas, the Wolves’ new president of basketball operations, has issued a statement confirming that the Wolves will let Jones join the Grizzlies, as Darren Wolfson of SKOR North relays (via Twitter).
“We sincerely thank Tyus for his contributions on the court and Tyus and the entire Jones family for their genuine impact on the Twin Cities community,” Rosas said. “We wish them nothing but the best in Memphis.”
Jones became the first restricted free agent of the 2019 offseason to sign an offer sheet on Sunday. It’s the second consecutive year that the Grizzlies have used their mid-level exception to poach an RFA from a Western Conference rival — they did so with Spurs forward Kyle Anderson a year ago.
Jones, 23, averaged 6.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 1.2 SPG last year in 68 games (22.9 MPG) for Minnesota. While his numbers don’t jump off the page, he’s a solid defender who grades out well analytically. He’ll join a Grizzlies point guard rotation that figures to feature a heavy dose of No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, along with newly-acquired youngster De’Anthony Melton. Memphis sent longtime point guard Mike Conley to Utah and signed-and-traded Delon Wright to Dallas earlier this offseason.
According to Bobby Marks of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Jones’ three-year deal has a first-year base value of $8.4MM with $850K in likely bonuses. It has a descending structure but can be worth close to $27MM in total. The former Duke Blue Devil told Sean Deveney this week that he’s “excited” to join the Grizzlies, and hopes to help establish a winning culture in Memphis (Twitter link).
As Marks notes, the Timberwolves – having just claimed Tyrone Wallace on waivers – would have been slightly over the tax line if they had matched Jones’ offer sheet. Additionally, the Wolves are pursuing maximum-salary cap room in 2020 and adding Jones’ multiyear deal to their books would’ve complicated that goal, tweets Wojnarowski.
With Jones and departed free agent Derrick Rose out of the picture, Minnesota has Jeff Teague, Shabazz Napier, and Wallace in the mix at point guard. The team may continue to explore its options to fortify the position.
Now that Jones is off the board, only one restricted free agent – Kelly Oubre of the Suns – remains on the market.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.