Michael Carter-Williams

Southeast Notes: Schroder, Oubre Jr., Carter-Williams

It wasn’t long ago when Hawks guard Dennis Schroder was regarded as an up-and-coming star. Lately, however, the market has soured on the German export. In a fan mailbag column, Chris Mannix of The Vertical writes that there’s a toxicity surrounding the 24-year-old that has limited his trade value.

Given that newly appointed Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has been dead set on clearing cap room and maintaining financial flexibility, it seems logical that he would be looking to unload the final four years of Schroder’s contract. In reality, however, it may not be so simple.

While the idea of finding a buyer for Schroder a season or two seemed incredibly easy, concerns around the league about the guard’s maturity – especially after a recent assault charge – have limited what the Hawks could get for him.

In that case, Mannix writes, unless the Hawks want to give the 17.9-point-per-game guard away for next to nothing, they’d be better off sticking with him and hoping that he matures into a player they’re comfortable building around.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Point guard Michael Carter-Williams will have to wait to make his debut with the Hornets. Although the guard was recently cleared for contact, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports that he suffered a setback on Monday that will bump back his timeline.
  • If Kelly Oubre can play as he did in Washington’s season opener, he may well find a bigger role than the one he saw with the Wizards last season. As Candace Buckner of the Washington Post writes, Oubre thrived when he subbed in for Jason Smith, making a strong case to earn more minutes in a small ball version of the team’s lineup.
  • The Hawks have named Michelle Leftwich their new vice president of salary cap administration, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes.  She’ll work alongside general manager Travis Schlenk.

Hornets Notes: Batum, Lamb, Carter-Williams, Rookies

The Hornets should find out soon whether Nicolas Batum will require surgery for a torn ligament in his left elbow, relays Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Batum is projected to be sidelined six to eight weeks with the injury, which he suffered in a preseason game Wednesday. He will meet with a specialist Monday in Dallas to determine whether surgery is the best option.

Batum’s injury has been diagnosed as a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. He wore a wrap on the elbow at Friday’s practice and said he was relieved when X-rays showed there was no fracture. Although Batum described the injury as painful, he promised to return as quickly as possible. “When I put my arms up, I feel something,” he said. “If this were my shooting arm, it would be like a tragedy. It’s not and that’s good.”

There’s more out of Charlotte:

  • Coach Steve Clifford plans to move Jeremy Lamb into the starting lineup during Batum’s absence, Bonnell writes in a separate piece. Lamb has made just a handful of starts during his first five seasons in the NBA, but he has been Charlotte’s top preseason scorer. “He’s worked so hard, and not just for two months — steady work since he’s gotten here,” Clifford said. “The more he’s worked, and the more he sees how his hard work is paying dividends, he’s notched it up even more. You get confidence when you work at a good pace. And now it’s all paying off for him.”
  • Michael Carter-Williams reported no physical problems after his first scrimmage as a Hornet, Bonnell notes in another story. The former Rookie of the Year, who agreed to a one-year, $2.7MM deal this summer, wasn’t medically cleared until Friday because of patella tendon tears that required platelet-rich plasma treatments on both knees. The scrimmage was only half-court, but Carter-Williams found it encouraging. “It’s great to compete out there; it’s what I missed the most,” he said. “My timing is a little bit off. I need to get back to playing at the pace of this team. My knees have been fine.”
  • The injury to Batum means first-round pick Malik Monk and second-rounder Dwayne Bacon may have to contribute sooner than expected, Bonnell writes in another piece. “That rookie stuff goes out the window at this point,” Kemba Walker told them.

Eastern Rumors: Jefferson, Dedmon, Pacers, MCW

The roster spot of Cavs veteran forward Richard Jefferson is in jeopardy, according to The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd. The signing of Dwyane Wade gives the Cavs 16 fully guaranteed contracts, along with Kay Felder’s partial guarantee. Even if Felder is traded or released, the Cavs will have to rid themselves of a guarantee contract and Jefferson is a likely candidate, Lloyd continues. Jefferson, 37, has a $2.5MM contract but if he’s released it will cost the club approximately $10.5MM in luxury taxes since it is a repeat offender, Lloyd points out. A second-round pick may have to be packaged to move Jefferson, Lloyd adds.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • Center Dewayne Dedmon probably won’t be with the Hawks beyond this season but he can help them in the short term, as Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains. Dedmon, who played with the Spurs last season, will make $6MM this season with the Hawks and holds a $6.3MM player option for next season. But Dedmon would probably benefit from testing the market again if he has a solid season, Cunningham continues. He’s adept at rolling to the basket in the pick-and-roll and he’s efficient in transition but needs to cut down on his fouls, Cunningham adds.
  • The Pacers will start Darren Collison and Victor Oladipo at guard, Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic at forward, and Myles Turner at center in their preseason opener on Wednesday, coach Nate McMillan told Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star.  The surprise on the second unit, as Brown notes, is forward Damien Wilkins. The 37-year-old hasn’t played in the league since the 2012/13 season. He’s signed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
  • Hornets backup guard Michael Carter-Williams expects to be cleared for contact early next week, he told the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell. Carter-Williams received platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees to promote healing of patella tears, Bonnell continues. He’s been restricted to noncontact drills during the first week of training camp.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wizards, Jordan

The Hornets struggled to keep leads when their starters – particularly Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller – were on the bench last season. The question ahead of 2017/18 then, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer asks, is whether or not that will change this season.

Gone are all of Walker’s and Zeller’s backups, a veritable laundry list of players from Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts and Briante Weber to Spencer Hawes, Roy Hibbert and Miles Plumlee. In their place are Michael Carter-Williams and Dwight Howard, both of whom were attained by the Hornets at relative bargains over the summer.

Of course the addition of Carter-Williams will provide size and defense to the Hornets’ second unit but the real draw is Howard, not because of what he’ll add off the bench but because of what his addition to the starting lineup entails.

As we’ve already written, head coach Steve Clifford has already committed to starting Howard when the season begins, that means Zeller himself will be able to work directly with the Hornets’ second unit to help do for them what he did for the starting five in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards will have a number of players to replace Markieff Morris with when the season tips off. The forward is currently expected to miss six to eight weeks with a sports hernia. “We have versatility and we have depth. We can go in many different directions. We can go small. We can throw Kelly Oubre]in there. We can throw Jason Smith in there. Mike Scott we can put in there. There’s a lot of players that we can throw into the mix,” head coach Scott Brooks told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
  • Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan will soon have a stake in another professional sports franchise. Jordan is part of Derek Jeter‘s group that has been approved to buy the Miami Marlins, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.
  • Only time will tell how Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer and new general manager Travis Schlenk mesh over the next few years but the dynamic between the two could be worth watching as the organization’s priorities shift from winning ball games to developing for the future. Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Budenholzer will embrace the rebuild, whether that’s his preference or not.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Wade, Gortat, Magic

The Hornets turned over their backup point guards behind Kemba Walker this offseason, with Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone replacing Ramon Sessions, Brian Roberts, and Briante Weber. Unfortunately for Charlotte, the injury bug is plaguing the team’s new-look backcourt as training camp gets underway.

As Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer details, Carter-Williams, who is recovering from platelet-rich plasma procedures on his knees, has yet to be cleared for contact drills, and Hornets head coach Steve Clifford isn’t sure when that will happen. Stone is also dealing with an injury, though his nagging groin issue isn’t expected to be a major problem.

If the Hornets do need additional point guard depth this preseason, it will be interesting to see if rookie Malik Monk gets some reps at the position. The team wanted to experiment in Summer League with Monk playing point guard, but he was battling an ankle injury of his own at the time.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Although Dwyane Wade hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to the Heat within the next few years, his desire to join a championship contender trumps his desire to reunite with his old team at this point in his career, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
  • The low-post role in the NBA has evolved considerably in recent years, with teams prioritizing bigs who can shoot, but Wizards center Marcin Gortat isn’t too worried about the league’s shifting philosophy. “I’ve got two, three more years in me, [and] I’m gone.” Gortat said with a smile, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “I’m glad I’m at the end of my career right now. I’m not going to shoot threes; I’m not going to develop threes. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to try to bring back real centers. I’m just going to try to survive. I’m going to play my best. I’m going to try to spend all my six fouls as best as I can, get as many rebounds as I can, get some blocks, get some charges. Hopefully we’re going to win some games, then I’m gone.”
  • The Magic announced their training camp roster on Monday, and one name notably absent was Rodney Purvis‘. A report last month indicated that the former UConn shooting guard had agreed to a deal with Orlando. The Magic are currently carrying 19 players on their roster, leaving one open spot, but it’s not clear whether that reported agreement with Purvis will be finalized.

Southeast Notes: Howard, Richardson, Oubre, Spoelstra

Dwight Howard will suit up for his fifth team in seven seasons as he prepares for a new start with the Hornets. The 31-year-old has been an effective player, when healthy, but has regressed from the player that was an MVP candidate in Orlando.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes Howard views his opportunity with the Hornets as a chance to reestablish himself. Under the guidance of his former and current coach Steve Clifford, Howard feels he can prove doubters wrong and prove to himself he can still be a productive player.

“This opportunity for myself to really get back everything that I would say has been taken away. I’m not too much worried about the naysayers, the rankings and stuff, but just the hearts of the people,” Howard said. “I’m in a much better place mentally, physically and spiritually than I have been in a couple of years.

Despite the downward trend in recent years, Howard posted 13.5 PPG and 12.7 RPG while scoring from the floor at a 63% clip last season in Atlanta. Charlotte has a need for defense and that is one part of Howard’s game that remains a threat.

Read more news around the Southeast Division below:
  • In a separate column, Bonnell writes that the Hornets did not have much financial flexibility to acquire a premier backup point guard after acquiring Howard. That led to the signings of Michael Carter-Williams and Julyan Stone; one player who has not done much since winning Rookie of the Year and the other hasn’t played in the NBA since 2014.
  • In his latest Ask Ira column, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes that Josh Richardsons four-year, $42MM contract extension is a worthwhile investment for the Heat. While he may not consistently crack the starting lineup, Richardson will be a key part of the team’s core going forward, Winderman adds.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni shared the honors of the new Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award, NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner writes.
  • Chase Hughes of CSN Mid Atlantic writes that Kelly Oubre, after a productive sophomore season in Washington, will be one of the team’s most vital players. Hughes notes that Oubre is the “most athletic player and best wing defender” on the Wizards‘ bench and will need to be consistent in that role to help the team.

Michael Carter-Williams May Not Be Healthy To Start Season

3:52 PM: Carter-Williams underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment on each of his knees back in July, Bonnell writes in a full-length piece.

12:23 PM: New Hornets point guard Michael Carter-Williams underwent a procedure on his knee in August, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter links), who reports that Carter-Williams is not yet back on the court. Per head coach Steve Clifford, it’s not a given that MCW will be ready to go for Charlotte’s regular season opener on October 18.

Carter-Williams, who inked a one-year, $2.7MM deal with the Hornets this summer, has a history of injuries, having battled shoulder and hip problems in the past. In 2016/17, Carter-Williams missed time due to knee and wrist injuries. The Syracuse product has never played more than 70 games in a season, appearing in a career-low 45 contests last year.

The Hornets added Carter-Williams this offseason after struggling to find reliable backup production behind Kemba Walker at the point in 2016/17. If the former Rookie of the Year isn’t healthy to start the season, Charlotte figures to turn to Julyan Stone for those backup minutes. Stone recently joined the Hornets on a guaranteed contract as the team’s third point guard.

Contract Details: Tucker, Holiday, Lowry, Collison

With more and more of the early free agent contract agreements being finalized, official numbers on those deals are starting to trickle in, and Eric Pincus, who operates Basketball Insiders’ salary database, is passing along the specifics on many of them. In instances where the official numbers are essentially identical to what was reported initially, we won’t pass along that info, but we want to provide updates in cases where new details surface.

Here are some new contract details on this week’s deals, with all links via Pincus’ Twitter feed:

Western Conference:

  • The Rockets split their mid-level exception between two players, with P.J. Tucker getting about $7.59MM and Zhou Qi getting the remaining $816K or so. Tucker’s contract is partially guaranteed in its fourth year ($2.6MM of $8MM guaranteed), while Zhou’s four-year pact isn’t guaranteed beyond year one (Twitter links).
  • As was expected based on initial reports, Jrue Holiday‘s total earning potential over five years with the Pelicans ranges from $126-150MM based on bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Dirk Nowitzki‘s two-year pact with the Mavericks will pay him an even $5MM in each of the next two seasons, with a second-year team option (Twitter link).
  • The first season of Wayne Selden‘s two-year minimum salary deal with the Grizzlies is fully guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • The Suns‘ new four-year contract for second-rounder Davon Reed is fully guaranteed for the first year, half guaranteed in the second year, and non-guaranteed in years three and four (Twitter link).

Eastern Conference:

  • Although Kyle Lowry‘s three-year contract with the Raptors can be worth up to $100MM, the base value is $93MM, with the remaining $7MM coming in the form of unlikely bonuses. Unlikely bonuses don’t count against the cap at this point (Twitter link).
  • The second year of Darren Collison‘s contract with the Pacers is only partially guaranteed. Currently, $2MM of his $10MM second-year salary is guaranteed (Twitter link).
  • The Hornets signed Michael Carter-Williams using a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception. Since he’s receiving an even $2.7MM, the team doesn’t have a hard cap at this point (Twitter link).
  • Eric Moreland‘s three-year deal with the Pistons includes a $500K guarantee for year one. The deal starts at $1.7MM, which means it was finalized using the amount of the mid-level exception that was left over after Langston Galloway‘s signing (Twitter link).

Hornets Sign Michael Carter-Williams

JULY 7, 10:11am: The Hornets have officially signed Carter-Williams, according to the team.Michael Carter-Williams vertical

JULY 1, 5:34pm: Carter-Williams’ one-year deal will be worth $2.7MM, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

We’ll see how Charlotte’s cap situation plays out, but that salary would fit into any exception above the minimum. If the Hornets use the bi-annual exception, it would create a hard cap at just over $125MM for the season.

5:19pm: Free agent point guard Michael Carter-Williams has agreed to sign with the Hornets, Jeff Goodman reports on ESPN Now. The deal, which will be for one year, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (via Twitter), can become official after the July moratorium ends on Thursday.

[RELATED: 2017 NBA Free Agent Tracker]

Carter-Williams had been eligible for restricted free agency, but didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Bulls in June, making him an unrestricted free agent. As such, the Hornets can sign him outright, though the team won’t have any cap room — MCW will have to sign using an exception. Depending on the terms of the deal, it could be the mid-level ($8.4MM), bi-annual ($3.3MM), or minimum salary exception.

A former lottery pick and NBA Rookie of the Year back in 2013/14, Carter-Williams has played for three teams in his first four NBA seasons, and has seen his usage and his production fall off since his days with the Sixers. After being acquired by Chicago in a preseason trade with the Bucks last fall, Carter-Williams appeared in 45 games for the Bulls in 2016/17, averaging just 6.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.5 APG on 36.6% shooting (18.8 minutes per game).

Carter-Williams reportedly received interest from the Thunder, Mavericks, Pelicans, Knicks, and the Rockets, in addition to the Hornets. With Ramon Sessions and Brian Roberts both on the unrestricted free agent market, Carter-Williams appears to have the inside track to be Kemba Walker‘s backup at the point in Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Six Teams Interested In Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams received a call from the Rockets last night, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link), who says that Houston is one of at least six teams with interest in the free agent point guard. Spears identifies the Knicks, Thunder, Mavericks, Pelicans, and Hornets as other clubs eyeing Carter-Williams.

Carter-Williams, the NBA’s Rookie of the Year back in 2013/14, has seen his usage and his production fall off since his days with the Sixers. After being acquired by Chicago in a preseason trade for Tony Snell last fall, Carter-Williams appeared in 45 games for the Bulls in 2016/17, averaging just 6.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.5 APG on 36.6% shooting (18.8 minutes per game). The Bulls didn’t tender him a qualifying offer this week, so he’s an unrestricted free agent.

While Carter-Williams appears to be drawing some interest, it remains to be seen whether he’ll prioritize joining a contending team or finding a situation where he’d have a larger role.

The Rockets, Thunder, Pelicans, and Hornets all have standout starting point guards, while the point guard situations in New York and Dallas are a little more in flux — the Knicks and Mavs addressed the position in last week’s draft by selecting Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., respectively, but those those rookies likely won’t take on huge minutes right away.

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