Michael Carter-Williams

Contract Details: CP3, MCW, Nurkic, Anderson

The Rockets‘ four-year max deal for Chris Paul includes a player option in year four, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). While that added detail on CP3’s new agreement with Houston is interesting, the possibility of an opt-out probably won’t be a factor in 2021 when a decision is due. Paul will be 36 years old when he has to decide on that $44MM+ option, so he seems unlikely to turn it down.

Pincus has several more specific details on recently-signed contracts, so let’s round them up…

  • Michael Carter-Williams‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Rockets isn’t fully guaranteed. The deal, worth $1,757,429 in total, has a $1.2MM partial guarantee for now (Twitter link).
  • The Trail Blazers‘ agreement with Jusuf Nurkic can be worth up to $54MM, but has a base value of $48MM, with $6MM in unlikely incentives. The fourth and final year is also currently only partially guaranteed for $4MM (Twitter link).
  • Kyle Anderson‘s new four-year contract with the Grizzlies features a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).
  • Bruce Brown (Pistons) and Keita Bates-Diop (Timberwolves) got three-year, minimum-salary deals with two guaranteed seasons from their respective teams (Twitter link).
  • Of the two-way contracts signed so far this offseason, Billy Preston‘s deal with the Cavaliers is the only one confirmed to be for two years rather than just one (Twitter link).

Rockets Sign Michael Carter-Williams To One-Year Deal

JULY 7: The Rockets have officially signed Carter-Williams, per the NBA’s transactions log.

JULY 3: The Rockets have reached an agreement to sign free agent point guard Michael Carter-Williams, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). According to Wojnarowski, it’ll be a one-year, minimum salary contract for Carter-Williams in Houston.Michael Carter-Williams of the Charlotte Hornets vertical

Carter-Williams, 26, is only four years removed from being named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year, but he has seen his playing time and his production slip precipitously since then in stints with the Sixers, Bucks, Bulls, and Hornets.

In 2017/18, Carter-Williams backed up Kemba Walker in Charlotte, but had the worst season of his five-year NBA career, averaging just 4.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 2.2 APG with a .332/.237/.820 shooting line in 52 games (16.1 MPG).

Carter-Williams is an interesting addition for the Rockets, who have James Harden and Chris Paul share ball-handling duties and generally focus on acquiring perimeter players who can make outside shots. Carter-Williams will be able to step in as the backup point guard if either Harden or Paul go down with an injury, and should get minutes even when both players are healthy. However, the 25.0% career three-point shooter isn’t a threat from beyond the arc.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, having reached agreements with Paul, Carter-Williams, and Gerald Green, the Rockets now have about $119MM in salaries on their books for 2018/19, with restricted free agent Clint Capela still requiring a new deal. Houston will also have the $5.337MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception to use in free agency.

Carter-Williams’ deal will count for $1.51MM against the Rockets’ cap, though he’ll earn $1.76MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agency Notes: George, MCW, Booker, Parker

The Thunder and  Paul George agreed to a four-year deal worth $137MM at the start of free agency and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link), the team will have the option to offer George an even bigger raise in two years.

Under the new CBA, the team can offer George an extension after the second anniversary of the deal, meaning PG13 can sign a four-year max deal in 2020 that locks him in for seven seasons. The total value of the potential seven-year pact would come in at an estimated $290MM based off of future salary cap projections.

The team’s ability to re-sign George was shocking to some, as many expected the 5-time All-Star to leave OKC for Los Angeles, a city he’s been linked to for quite some time. It’s possible that the team’s ability to offer the max extension at the halfway point of the four-year contract was part of George’s motivation to stick around, though that’s merely my speculation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Rockets will meet with Michael Carter-Williams, league sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). While Houston appears to be looking into ancillary parts for its team, the franchise hasn’t given up hope on pursuing LeBron James.
  • The Jazz and Pelicans have both expressed interest in Trevor Booker, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link). The Wolves, Rockets, Knicks, and Spurs also have an eye on the big man.
  • The Bulls have interest in Jabari Parker, Kennedy tweets. Chicago is one of several teams expected to pursue the former No. 2 overall pick.
  • The Wolves are looking to sign Dante Cunningham, sources tell Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Minnesota has eyes for a bevy of veteran free agents to fill it’s five open roster spots.

Hornets Notes: Porter, Walker, Kaminsky, Howard

Michael Porter Jr. could be a risk worth taking for the Hornets if he lasts to the 11th pick, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Porter was among the top recruits in college basketball last year, but a back injury sidelined him for almost the entire season. He underwent surgery to remove a piece of bone that was placing pressure on a nerve and has declared himself to be healthy.

Porter has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant, standing 6’10” with the skills of a small forward. If enough teams are scared off by his medical history, Porter could present new GM Mitch Kupchak with his first major draft decision since coming to Charlotte.

There’s more from Charlotte:

  • The Hornets might be willing to ship Kemba Walker to Cleveland in a deal involving the No. 8 pick, but LeBron James‘ uncertain status makes the trade problematic, Bonnell notes in the same story. Dealing Walker, who has one year left on his contract, for a draft choice would help ease Charlotte’s cap situation, but the Cavaliers won’t know until July if James is leaving. The eighth pick becomes extremely valuable if Cleveland is facing a rebuilding project.
  • Frank Kaminsky hasn’t done enough in three seasons to convince the Hornets he’s worthy of a long-term investment, Bonnell adds. The ninth pick in the 2015 draft has averaged 10.0 points per game since joining the team, and there are concerns about his rebounding and passing. Bonnell believes Charlotte wouldn’t hesitate to draft another power forward.
  • Dwight Howard could be a buyout candidate if he’s still on the roster in February, Bonnell writes in a mailbag column. The veteran center will make more than $23.8MM in the final year of his contract.
  • In the same piece, Bonnell puts the odds at 50-50 for free agents Michael Carter-Williams and Treveon Graham to return to the Hornets next season. An abundance of guaranteed contracts for wing players will limit Graham’s opportunity, while Carter-Williams is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he shot a career-low 33% from the field.

Injury Notes: Bazemore, Smart, A. Williams, MCW

Although Kent Bazemore‘s season has ended early due to a bone bruise in his right knee, the Hawks swingman still felt like 2017/18 was a better overall year for him than the 2016/17 campaign, writes Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I’m in a great place,” Bazemore said on Tuesday. “Solid bounce-back season after last year’s efforts. I grew as a player and a leader. I’ve learned a new train of thought for an NBA season. Now it’s up to me to take it to the next level and be able to play all season. … I felt great all year. The injury was kind of a freak accident, in my opinion. I was available every night up to that point. It was a good year overall.”

According to Bazemore, the injury will take him about six to eight weeks to fully recover from, which is why the Hawks are shutting him down for the season — there are only about four weeks left in the regular season, and Atlanta obviously isn’t playoff-bound. Bazemore, who will look to enter the 2018/19 season fully healthy, will be entering the third season of his lucrative four-year contract with the Hawks.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • A league source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) that the Celtics sure aren’t sure what the odds are that Marcus Smart returns to the court this season. Smart, officially diagnosed with a sprained thumb, reportedly tore a tendon in that thumb. “(They’re) waiting for that second opinion,” the source told Murphy. “Don’t know if it’s a 50% chance or a 30% chance (that he can get back on the court this season). Just don’t know.”
  • Although it initially looked like he might play for the Suns tonight, Alan Williams is now targeting Thursday or Saturday for his 2017/18 debut, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Williams has been sidelined all season with a right knee injury.
  • The Hornets confirmed today in a press release that Michael Carter-Williams underwent successful surgery to address the torn labrum in his left shoulder. As initially reported last week, the former Rookie of the Year will miss the rest of the season before reaching unrestricted free agency this summer.

Hornets’ Michael Carter-Williams Out For Season

Hornets point guard Michael Carter-Williams will miss the rest of the season due to a posterior labral tear in his left shoulder, the Hornets announced today in a press release. Carter-Williams, who sustained the injury on Sunday, will undergo surgery on his shoulder.

Carter-Williams, 26, signed a one-year, $2.7MM deal with the Hornets last summer and has served as Kemba Walker‘s primary backup this season. However, he struggled mightily in Charlotte, enduring the worst season of his five-year NBA career. In 52 games (16.1 MPG), the former Rookie of the Year averaged 4.6 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 2.2 APG with a shooting line of .332/.237/.820.

With Carter-Williams on the shelf, the Hornets are expected to turn to Malik Monk and Julyan Stone to back up Walker at the point.

As for Carter-Williams, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so any teams interested in signing him will keep a close eye on his recovery from shoulder surgery.

Southeast Notes: MCW, Sessions, Heat, Hawks

After signing with the Hornets during the 2017 offseason, Michael Carter-Williams has served as the team’s primary point guard behind Kemba Walker. However, Carter-Williams’ season appears to be in jeopardy.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes (via Twitter), the former Rookie of the Year suffered a left shoulder injury on Sunday and is currently weighing whether to elect for surgery or rehab. According to Bonnell, it could be a few days before Carter-Williams makes a decision, but if he opts for surgery, it figures to end the 2017/18 season for the Hornets guard.

For now, the Hornets figure to turn to Malik Monk for the backup minutes behind Walker, and the team’s lone All-Star is also ready to play a few extra minutes if needed, as Bonnell notes (Twitter links).

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southeast…

  • Although he didn’t play a single minute for the Wizards during his first 10-day contract, Ramon Sessions inked a second 10-day deal with the club on Monday. As he tells Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link), Sessions he’s prepared to see the court this time around. “If I sit for another 10 days, it’s nothing that I’ve got grudge on my shoulder or anything,” Sessions said. “But if they call me, I’ll be ready to go.”
  • Despite slipping to a tie for seventh in the Eastern Conference standings, the Heat like their roster and are confident they’ll finish the season strong, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We have everything we need,” said team president Pat Riley. “We have shot blocking. We’ve got pick-and-roll bigs who can catch lobs. We’ve got pick-and-roll bigs who can catch layups. We’ve got shooters, defenders. We’ve got a lot of versatility. … I think Coach (Erik Spoelstra) has done a great job in developing a system that’s for everybody. And so let’s get on with it.”
  • Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides an update on the Hawks‘ two-way players, tweeting that – as of Monday – Josh Magette had 25 days of NBA service left, while Andrew White had 13 days left. Given Atlanta’s place in the standings, the team won’t have to worry about making either player postseason-eligible via an NBA contract.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are committed to a core that hasn’t been able to get the franchise over the hump and likely won’t be able to do so as key components of the rotation age out of their primes.

Much of the organization’s most recent woes can be attributed to injuries and health-related struggles but week-by-week that plucky, purple-shirt-guy-inspired squad that pushed the Heat to seven games in the first-round of the 2016 postseason seems like a distant memory.

Making matters worse for Hornets fans is that there isn’t exactly help in sight. The club projects to break camp close to $20MM over the salary cap and the contracts set to come off their books don’t represent much relief.

Michael Carter-Williams of the Charlotte Hornets verticalMichael Carter-Williams, PG, 26 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal in 2017
Desperate for a reliable backup point guard, the Hornets tried their luck on a former Rookie of the Year. Still just 26 years old, Carter-Williams was an intriguing option to be had for the minimum but bringing him back after a (thus far) career-worst shooting year is a different story. In theory Carter-Williams can fill the stat sheet if given an opportunity, but it’s hard to imagine he’s moved the needle enough at this point in the season to convince the front office to bring him back.

Johnny O’Bryant, PF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $1.7MM deal in 2017
The Hornets, in need of healthy bodies to round out their rotation, have plugged O’Bryant into a bigger role of late and the forward has done a respectable job of producing in the time that he’s been given. If Charlotte continues to struggle in 2018, expect the organization to feature their younger players more often. That’s a perfect recipe for O’Bryant to make his case as one of the few in-house growth opportunities the franchise has available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Simmons, Frazier, MCW

The knee soreness that forced Heat center Hassan Whiteside to sit out tonight’s game could become a long-term issue, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. In a video posted on the newspaper’s web site, Whiteside says the knee has been giving him problems since the season began. “It’s really bothering me, man,” Whiteside said. “We’re going to figure it out. We’re going to figure it out when we get back to Miami and figure out what’s wrong.”

The knee problems began on opening night when Whiteside suffered a bone bruise. He was held out of the next five games, but hasn’t missed another one until today. Whiteside has remained productive despite the pain, averaging 14.9 points and 12.7 rebounds in 15 games.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Free agent addition Jonathon Simmons was inserted into the Magic’s starting lineup Monday, and coach Frank Vogel plans to keep him in that role, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Simmons took Terrence Ross‘ place in the starting five and responded with a team-high 21 points. Vogel said he will evaluate how he uses players before each game, but added, “I would anticipate ‘Simms’ being in the starting lineup indefinitely, until I decide otherwise.”
  • The Wizards just need a steady performance from point guard Tim Frazier as he fills in for the injured John Wall, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Frazier and Tomas Satoransky will both see increased playing time with Wall sidelined for about two weeks with knee inflammation. “He’s not going to play like John and we don’t expect him to play like John,” coach Scott Brooks said. “We want him to just play to his best ability, and that’s getting our team in the offense and not turning the ball over, take the open shot.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams, who joined his fourth team in four years when he signed with the Hornets this summer, believes he has found a comfortable situation in Charlotte, according to Sam Perley of NBA.com. Carter-Williams’ season debut was delayed after getting platelet-rich-plasma injections in both knees, but he has found a role as a defensive specialist off the bench, averaging a team-high 1.25 steals per game. “MCW is a difference-maker,” said Hornets coach Steve Clifford. “He changes our defense, he can guard multiple guys. He’s working his way into shape, he’s got terrific feel, he can play fast and slow [and] he can find people.”

Southeast Rumors: Monk, Heat, Simmons, Isaac

Malik Monk‘s spotty minutes in recent games is due to Michael Carter-Williams defensive ability and not some sort of punishment for the first-round pick, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. The Hornets have played much better defensively with Carter-Williams in the rotation and Monk became the odd man out, Bonnell continues. Monk is still learning to play point guard after being a shooting guard in college and has plenty of work to do defensively, Bonnell adds.

In other developments around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat may have invested too much on complementary pieces, Ira Winderman of the Florida Sun Sentinel opines. It’s fair to question whether the club would be better off now and into the future by spending on top players rather than doling out large contracts to players such as Josh RichardsonTyler Johnson, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, Winderman adds.
  • Magic coach Frank Vogel made his first non-injury related change to the starting lineup Monday, inserting swingman Jonathon Simmons in place of Terrence Ross, John Denton of the Magic’s website reports. Vogel wants to give Simmons more playing time and Ross has spent most of his career coming off the bench, Denton notes. “Terrence and I have been in conversations about him maybe being more involved when coming off the bench and with Simmons, we’d like to see what we look like with him having a bigger role,’’ Vogel said.
  • Magic rookie power forward Jonathan Isaac could return as early as Wednesday from the ankle sprain he suffered on November 11th, Denton notes in a separate story. The lottery pick missed his eighth consecutive game on Monday. “It’s definitely taken longer than I thought it would,” Isaac told Denton.